Iron (Fe) and aluminum (Al) hydroxides are highly reactive components in environmental processes, such as contaminant fate and transport. Phosphorus (P) sorption by these components can decrease environmental problems associated with excess accumulation of P in soils. The long-term stability of P sorbed by Fe/Al hydroxides is of major concern. Synthetic Fe and Al hydroxides coprecipitated with P (1:1 metal:P molar ratio) were incubated at 70 °C for 24 months to simulate natural long-term weathering processes that could influence the stability of sorbed P. Heat incubation (70 °C) of the untreated (no P) Al hydroxides resulted in drastic decreases (within the first month of incubation) in oxalate–Al extractability, specific surface area (SSA), and micropore volume with time. These changes were consistent with the formation of pseudoboehmite. Untreated Fe hydroxides showed no formation of crystalline components following heating (70 °C) for 24 months. Much smaller changes in oxalate-Al, P extractability, and SSA values were observed in the P-treated Al particles when compared with the untreated. Phosphorus treatment of both Fe and Al hydroxides stabilized the particle surfaces and prevented structural arrangements toward a long-range ordered phase. Slight reduction in SSA of the P-treated particles was related to dehydration phenomena during heating at 70 °C. Monitoring of physicochemical properties of the solids after heating at 70 °C for 2 years showed that sorbed P may be stable in the long-term. Understanding long term physicochemical properties may help engineers to optimize the Fe/Al hydroxides performance in several environmental/industrial applications.
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science – Elsevier
Published: Jul 15, 2005
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