ISSN 1070-4272, Russian Journal of Applied Chemistry, 2017, Vol. 90, No. 1, pp. 113−119. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2017.
Original Russian Text © G.A. Skorobogatov, Yu.A. Ashmarova, A.G. Rebrova,
2017, published in Zhurnal Prikladnoi Khimii, 2017, Vol. 90, No. 1, pp. 121−127.
Transformations of Shungite in Aqueous Media
(pH from 1 to 12)
G. A. Skorobogatov*, Yu. A. Ashmarova, and A. G. Rebrova
St. Petersburg State Chemical Pharmaceutical Academy, ul. Professora Popova 14, St. Petersburg, 197022 Russia
Received December 11, 2016
Abstract—The kinetics of leaching of Karelian shungites (types I–III) with water at pH in the interval 1–12 was
studied. Changes in the chemical composition and structure of the shungite substance were revealed by X-ray
ﬂ uorescence analysis and scanning electron microscopy. The catalytic properties of shungite were studied in
relation to the presence of oxygen in water. The optimum design of a shungite–carbonate installation for potable
water treatment was substantiated.
Shungites are unique carbon-containing rocks  in
which the carbon constituent is intimately associated
with aluminosilicates, and other minerals. Shungite
differs from graphite in that it has no crystal lattice and
from coals and bitumens in that it has a two-dimensional
structure and low content of volatile components.
Depending on the carbon content, shungite rocks are
subdivided into the following types high-carbon rocks,
types I (≥98% C) and II (35–75% C); medium-carbon,
or shungitous rocks, type III (20–35% C); and low-
carbon, or shungite-containing rocks, types IV (10–20%
C) and V (<10% C).
A characteristic feature of shungite carbon is the
presence of multilayer formations of fulleroid type.
Buseck et al.  detected such globules with an electron
microscope and interpreted them as fullerenes without
due substantiation. The viewpoint of Zaidenberg et al.
, according to which globular shungite carbon is
considered as fullerene-like carbon exhibiting intra-
and interglobular porosity, seems to be more realistic.
In the most correct study performed in this ﬁ eld , it
was experimentally proved that in shungite-III of the
Zazhogino deposit (30% carbon, 70% silicates) the
upper limit of the content of fullerenes С
not exceed 0.02 wt %.
Ion-exchange properties of various types of
shungites at their contact with water were studied
previously [5−8]. For example, aqueous solutions of
organic microimpurities after treatment with shungite in
air acquire acid reaction . This effect is not surprising
because shungite is simultaneously an oxidation catalyst
and a solid acid . Then, the kinetics of elution of
various elements from shungite-III was quantitatively
determined by mass spectrometry . Nevertheless,
many features of the behavior of shungites in aqueous
systems are still poorly understood. In particular, it is
unclear what transformations occur in shungite itself
after its treatment with acids, alkalis, and neutral water.
Also, the speciﬁ c roles of shungite and atmospheric
oxygen in oxidation of organic substances dissolved
in water, performed in the presence of ﬁ nely dispersed
shungite, are unclear. In any case, numerous examples
of participation of atmospheric oxygen in chemical
reactions occurring in solutions are known .
Changes in the shungite composition after
treatment with water. We studied shungites of two
types: type I with 95–98 wt % carbon content (Shun’ga
deposit) and type III with 30–35 wt % carbon content
After the extraction completion, the solid precipitates
were separated from the aqueous phase, dried, and studied
by X-ray ﬂ uorescence analysis (XFA). The results are
given in the table. As can be seen, treatment with neutral
water leads to appreciable loss of iron, nickel, zinc, and