The Electrophoretic Mobility of Imogolite and Allophane in the Presence of Inorganic Anions and Citrate*

Su Chunming1 and James B. Harsh2
1 USDA/ARS, U.S. Salinity Laboratory, 4500 Glenwood Drive, Riverside, California 92501
2 Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture and Home Economics, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164-6420
* Contribution from the College of Agriculture and Home Economics Research Center, Pullman, Washington, Paper No. 9301-26, Project 0694.

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to investigate bonding mechanisms of representative inorganic anions and citrate with imogolite and allophane using electrophoresis. The electrophoretic mobility (EM) of synthetic imogolite and allophanes with Al/Si molar ratios of 2.02, 1.64, and 1.26 was determined in 0.001 and 0.01 M sodium solutions. The highest point of zero mobility (PZM) values for imogolite and the highest point of zero charge (PZC) values for allophane occurred in the presence of ClO4, NO3, Br, I, and Cl. Below the PZM and PZC, Cl and I lowered the EM relative to the other anions but did not shift the PZM and PZC significantly. This indicates that Cl and I formed more outer-sphere complexes than the other ions. The EM of imogolite and allophane was negative at pH < 6 in 0.001 and 0.01 M NaF probably due to a phase change. We observed the formation of cryolite (Na3AlF6) with transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) in the NaF systems at low pH. Conversely, phosphate at 0.001 and 0.01 M concentrations lowered both the PZM and the EM in imogolite and both the PZC and the EM in allophane compared with ClO4. Phosphate-treated allophane had the same PZC as a synthetic amorphous aluminum phosphate. The PZM values of imogolite and allophane with 2:1 Al/Si in 0.0001 M Na-citrate were 10.9 and 5.9, respectively. At pH 7.3, Na-citrate lowered allophane EM more than it lowered imogolite EM relative to ClO4.

The EM in NaClO4 and Na2SO4 was reversible by forward- and back-titration with NaOH and HClO4, indicated that ClO4 and SO4 were not specifically adsorbed. Chloride likely formed more outer-sphere complexes than ClO4. Imogolite EM and allophane EM in dilute NaF and NaH2PO4 solutions were not reversible, indicating either surface inner-sphere complexes or surface precipitates of aluminum fluoride and amorphous aluminum phosphate-like materials on these minerals. Sulfate gave a lower EM than the monovalent anions, implying a greater tendency to form outer-sphere complexes. Citrate appeared to form inner-sphere complexes on both imogolite and allophane, but formation was concentration-dependent. The tendency of anions to form surface complexes with imogolite and allophane is consistent with the tendency of anions to form soluble aluminum complexes.

Key Words: Anion adsorption • Cryolite • Inner-sphere complex • Outer-sphere complex • Point of zero charge • Point of zero mobility • Specific adsorption • Surface complexation • Surface precipitation • Transmission electron microscopy

Clays and Clay Minerals; August 1993 v. 41; no. 4; p. 461-471; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1993.0410407
© 1993, The Clay Minerals Society
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