Factors that Govern the Formation of Multi-domainic Goethites

R. M. Cornell and R. Giovanoli
Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Berne CH-3000 Berne 9, Switzerland
Laboratory of Electron Microscopy, University of Berne CH-3000 Berne 9, Switzerland

Abstract: Transmission electron microscopic (TEM) examination has shown that multi-domainic crystals of synthetic goethite consist of almost parallel intergrowths, each of which is slightly misoriented with respect to its neighbors. These intergrowths emanate from a central nucleus within the crystal. They can nucleate along both the x and y crystal axes, but subsequent growth is mainly in the z direction.

The formation of multi-domainic goethites from ferrihydrite was favored by high pH (≥13) and, at lower pHs, by the addition of NaNO3 to the system. Decreasing the temperature of synthesis from 70° to 20°C also enhanced domain formation. The nucleation of domains was confined to the initial stage of goethite formation. Domains probably formed when crystal growth was very rapid or when adsorbed species blocked the appropriate sites on the nucleus material.

Key Words: Domains • Goethite • Intergrowths • Iron • Synthesis • Transmission electron microscopy

Clays and Clay Minerals; October 1986 v. 34; no. 5; p. 557-564; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1986.0340509
© 1986, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)