Abstract: The amount of Mn2+ adsorbed or removed from solution by birnessite is several times greater than its reported cation exchange capacity. Extractability of the sorbed Mn2+ decreases with aging. It is uncertain whether the sorbed Mn2+ is oxidized on the surface or incorporated into the structure of birnessite. Using X-ray powder diffractometry and transmission electron microscopy, a study was conducted to examine the mineralogical alteration of birnessite after treatment with various concentrations of MnSO4 and solution pH.
The sorbed Mn2+ was not directly oxidized and remained on the birnessite surface. The sorption of Mn2+ was followed by alteration of birnessite with the formation of new Mn minerals. The specific Mn minerals formed were governed by the pH of the reaction, and the rate of the transformation was determined by Mn2+ concentration and pH. Nsutite and ramsdellite were identified at pH 2.4, cryptomelane at pH 4, groutite at pH 6, and manganite at pH 8. Other Mn minerals formed at these and other pH levels could not be identified. As the concentration of Mn in the solution decreased, the time required to form new minerals from the birnessite increased. The newly formed phases were the result of structural conversion since dissolution of birnessite and reprecipitation of new phases were not observed.