Assessing the Reactive Surface Area of Phlogopite during Acid Dissolution: An Atomic Force Microscopy, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, and Low Energy Electron Diffraction Study

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2000-01-14
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

The behavior during dissolution of edge and basal surfaces of the mica phlogopite were examined using in situ atomic force microscopy (AFM), x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and low-energy electron diffraction (LEED) in an attempt to characterize the reactive surface area during dissolution. Mica minerals are the ideal material for this study because they offer a high degree of structural anisotropy. Therefore surfaces with different structures are easily identified. Dissolution is shown to proceed preferentially by removal of material from {hk0} edges. Dissolution rates were calculated by measuring the volume of material removed from etch pits, and normalizing to either the "reactive" surface area of {hk0} edges exposed at pit walls, or to a total "BET-equivalent" surface area. Rates normalized to total surface area are in the range of dissolution rates reported in the literature. Edge surface normalized rates are about 100 times faster. Long-term in situ AFM observations of phlogopite dissolution reveal that exposed (001) surfaces also display a distinct reactivity, though it operates on a different time scale. The top layer is shown to expand between 39 and 63 hours in contact with pH 2 HCl solution. Subsequent LEED analysis shows that the (001) surface becomes amorphous upon reacting with pH 2 HCl. Compositional characterization of the phlogopite after reaction shows that for pitted phlogopite surfaces, dissolution is characterized by leaching of octahedral cations and polymerization of the silica-enriched residual layer. No chemical changes or polymerization are observed for freshly cleaved unpitted phlogopite after reaction with pH 2 HCl for 24 hours. This suggests a gallery access mechanism is facilitated by edge attack, and is only significant on exposed (001) surfaces after a certain amount of dissolution by edge attack.

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phlogopite, LEED, reactive surface area, XPS, AFM
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