Schwertmannite, a Fe(III)-oxyhydroxysulfate mineral formed in acidic (pH 3~4), iron- and sulfate-rich acid mine drainage (AMD) environments, tends to undergo phase transformations with changes in pH and redox condition, which may depend on the presence of various trace anions and cations. In the present study, the effects of Cu(II) on the stability of arsenate-, chromate-, and molybdate-substituted schwertmannite were investigated. The release of Fe(III) and sulfate from schwertmannite seems to be accelerated in the presence of Cu(II) at pH ~ 3, while Cu(II) retarded the dissolution of schwertmannite at pH ~ 5. XRD and SEM results showed that pure schwertmannite and chromate-substituted schwertmannite underwent transformation to goethite over a 2-month period, the presence of Cu(II) enhanced the stability of the mineral’s structure at both pH 3 and 5. However, the structures of arsenate- and molybdate-substituted schwertmannites showed no significant changes in the presence or absence of Cu(II) at both pH 3 and 5. During the phase transformation process, the amount of released oxyanions followed the sequence of chromate > molybdate > arsenate. Moreover, the release of arsenate and chromate from schwertmannite was retarded in the presence of Cu(II) at pH 5, whereas the release of molybdate was promoted. These results have important environmental implications for the stability of schwertmannite and its potential to immobilize contaminant trace elements under AMD conditions.
Environmental Science and Pollution Research – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 22, 2018
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