Coprecipitates of Cd, Cu, Pb and Zn in Iron Oxides: Solid Phase Transformation and Metal Solubility after Aging and Thermal Treatment

Carmen Enid Martínez and Murray B. McBride
Department of Soil, Crop, and Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA

Abstract: Solid phase transformation and metal solubility were monitored after coprecipitation of Cd2+, Cu2+, Pb2+ and Zn2+ with Fe3+ to form ferrihydrite by titration to pH 6. The (co)precipitates were aged at room temperature for up to 200 d and subsequently heated for 60 d at 70 °C. The mode of (co)precipitate formation, rapid and slow titration, was also investigated. Metal solubility was measured by anodic stripping voltammetry. Surface area, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis were used to follow the transformation of ferrihydrite after initial (co)precipitation. Electron microprobe analysis (EMPA) was used to show the distribution of metals within ferrihydrite aggregates. Thermal treatment produced a reduction in soluble Cd2+ and Zn2+, whereas Pb2+ appeared to be expelled from the solid phase. The more stable coprecipitate (formed by slow titration) maintained a constant Cu2+ solubility after thermal treatment. Characterization of the solid phase by XRD indicated that the presence of low levels of metals did not affect the initial or final transformation products, although metals present during the slow titration seemed to stabilize a higher surface area material. The rapid titration resulted in a less ordered (1-line) ferrihydrite than the slow titration (9-line). Furthermore, FTIR analysis indicated that the presence of metals promoted the formation of mixed (microcrystalline) end-products. The initial coprecipitation products seem to determine the final thermal transformation products. These transformation products include ferrihydrite, hematite (Hm), and goethite (Gt)- and lepidocrocite-like microcrystalline structures. Although experimental conditions were favorable for the homogeneous distribution of metals throughout the coprecipitate, EMPA suggests that Cu and Zn segregation within aggregates of Fe oxides occurs.

Key Words: Aging Study • Coprecipitation • Electron Microprobe Analysis • Ferrihydrite Transformation • Metal Solubility • Rate of Titration • Thermal Treatment

Clays and Clay Minerals; October 1998 v. 46; no. 5; p. 537-545; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1998.0460507
© 1998, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)