Adsorption of rare earth elements in regolith-hosted clay deposits.
ABSTRACT: Global resources of heavy Rare Earth Elements (REE) are dominantly sourced from Chinese regolith-hosted ion-adsorption deposits in which the REE are inferred to be weakly adsorbed onto clay minerals. Similar deposits elsewhere might provide alternative supply for these high-tech metals, but the adsorption mechanisms remain unclear and the adsorbed state of REE to clays has never been demonstrated in situ. This study compares the mineralogy and speciation of REE in economic weathering profiles from China to prospective regoliths developed on peralkaline rocks from Madagascar. We use synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy to study the distribution and local bonding environment of Y and Nd, as proxies for heavy and light REE, in the deposits. Our results show that REE are truly adsorbed as easily leachable 8- to 9-coordinated outer-sphere hydrated complexes, dominantly onto kaolinite. Hence, at the atomic level, the Malagasy clays are genuine mineralogical analogues to those currently exploited in China.
Project description:Heavy rare earth elements (HREE) are dominantly mined from the weathering crusts of granites in South China. Although weathering processes occur globally, no economic HREE resources of this type have yet been found outside China. Here, we report the occurrence of unidentified REE minerals in the granites from South Chinese deposits. They contain high levels of both HREE and light REE, but are strongly depleted in Ce, implying high oxidation state. These REE minerals show higher initial Nd isotope than primary REE-rich minerals (?Nd(t)=0.9±0.8 versus -11.5±0.5). The mineralized weathering crusts inherited REE signature of the granites, but show more Ce depletion and more overall concentration of the REE. We propose, therefore, that highly oxidized, REE-rich fluids, derived from external, isotopically depleted sources, metasomatized the granites, which resulted in Ce depletion as Ce4+ and enrichment of the remaining REE, especially the HREE, contributing to formation of a globally important REE resource.
Project description:Given the high surface reactivity of clay minerals, it is assumed that flocculation will lead to metal accumulation in marginal marine settings. However, the degree of metal sorption to clays is impacted by solution pH and ionic strength, and it remains unknown whether riverine clays indeed serve as a metal sink once they encounter seawater where pH and ionic strength markedly increase. Here, we conducted cadmium (Cd) adsorption experiments to three types of common clay minerals - kaolinite, illite and montmorillonite. We found that 20-30% of Cd from illite and montmorillonite surfaces were desorbed when transitioning from freshwater to seawater pH and ionic strength conditions, while kaolinite showed no discernible differences. Synchrotron X-ray adsorption spectroscopy confirmed that Cd release corresponded to a change in bonding from outer- to inner-sphere complexes when clays encountered seawater pH and ionic strength conditions. If other trace nutrients (such as Cu, Zn, Co) adsorbed onto riverine clay minerals behave in a similar manner to Cd, we speculate that their desorption in marginal marine settings should exert a significant impact on the productivity of the biosphere.
Project description:With the increasing demand for rare earth elements (REEs) in many emerging clean energy technologies, there is an urgent need for the development of new approaches for efficient REE extraction and recovery. As a step toward this goal, we genetically engineered the aerobic bacterium Caulobacter crescentus for REE adsorption through high-density cell surface display of lanthanide binding tags (LBTs) on its S-layer. The LBT-displayed strains exhibited enhanced adsorption of REEs compared to cells lacking LBT, high specificity for REEs, and an adsorption preference for REEs with small atomic radii. Adsorbed Tb(3+) could be effectively recovered using citrate, consistent with thermodynamic speciation calculations that predicted strong complexation of Tb(3+) by citrate. No reduction in Tb(3+) adsorption capacity was observed following citrate elution, enabling consecutive adsorption/desorption cycles. The LBT-displayed strain was effective for extracting REEs from the acid leachate of core samples collected at a prospective rare earth mine. Our collective results demonstrate a rapid, efficient, and reversible process for REE adsorption with potential industrial application for REE enrichment and separation.
Project description:This study determines the influence of the different soil components and of the cation-exchange capacity on the adsorption and retention of different heavy metals: cadmium, chromium, copper, nickel, lead and zinc. In order to do so, regression models were created through decision trees and the importance of soil components was assessed. Used variables were: humified organic matter, specific cation-exchange capacity, percentages of sand and silt, proportions of Mn, Fe and Al oxides and hematite, and the proportion of quartz, plagioclase and mica, and the proportions of the different clays: kaolinite, vermiculite, gibbsite and chlorite. The most important components in the obtained models were vermiculite and gibbsite, especially for the adsorption of cadmium and zinc, while clays were less relevant. Oxides are less important than clays, especially for the adsorption of chromium and lead and the retention of chromium, copper and lead.
Project description:Background organic matter significantly influences the removal of emerging contaminants in natural water. In this work, the adsorption of ciprofloxacin (CPX) onto a series of magnetic multifunctional resins (GMA10-GMA90) in the presence and absence of humic acid (HA) was conducted to demonstrate the effect of HA. Both hydrophobic and ion exchange interactions contributed to CPX adsorption. Negative charge-assisted hydrogen bonds also participated in the adsorption process, resulting in the high adsorption amount of anionic CPX onto the negatively charged GMA30 under basic solutions. HA could impact CPX adsorption not only as a competitive adsorbate but also as an additional adsorbent. At pH 5.6, the additional adsorption sites provided by adsorbed HA molecules on the resins dominated and thus facilitated the adsorption process. While at pH 10, HA inhibited the adsorption of CPX by directly competing for ion exchange sites and coexisting with CPX in the solution. The ratio of the amount of CPX adsorbed by dissolved HA to that by the resin reached as high as 1.61 for GMA90. The adsorbed HA molecules onto the resins could provide additional adsorption sites for CPX as proven by the enhanced CPX adsorption in HA-preloading systems at pH 5.6.
Project description:Adsorption isotherms, circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) were used to investigate the adsorption of human osteocalcin (hOC) and decarboxylated (i.e., Gla converted back to Glu) hOC (dhOC) onto various calcium phosphate surfaces as well as silica surfaces. The adsorption isotherms and XPS nitrogen signals were used to track the amount of adsorbed hOC and dhOC. The intensities of key ToF-SIMS amino acid fragments were used to assess changes in the structure of adsorbed hOC and dhOC. CD spectra were used to investigate the secondary structure of OC. The largest differences were observed when the proteins were adsorbed onto silica versus calcium phosphate surfaces. Similar amounts (3-4 at. % N) of hOC and dhOC were adsorbed onto the silica surface. Higher amounts of hOC and dhOC were adsorbed on all the calcium phosphate surfaces. The ToF-SIMS data showed that the intensity of the Cys amino acid fragment, normalized to intensity of all amino acid fragments, was significantly higher (?×10) when the proteins were adsorbed onto silica. Since in the native OC structure the cysteines are located in the center of three ?-helices, this indicates both hOC and dhOC are more denatured on the silica surface. As hOC and dhOC denature upon adsorption to the silica surface, the cysteines become more exposed and are more readily detected by ToF-SIMS. No significant differences were detected between hOC and dhOC adsorbed onto the silica surface, but small differences were observed between hOC and dhOC adsorbed onto the calcium phosphate surfaces. In the OC structure, the ?-3 helix is located above the ?-1 and ?-2 helices. Small differences in the ToF-SIMS intensities from amino acid fragments characteristic of each helical unit (Asn for ?-1; His for ?-2; and Phe for ?-3) suggests either slight changes in the orientation or a slight uncovering of the ?-1 and ?-2 for adsorbed dhOC. XPS showed that similar amounts of hOC and dhOC were absorbed onto hydroxyapaptite and octacalcium phosphate surfaces, but ToF-SIMS detected some small differences in the amino acid fragment intensities on these surfaces for adsorbed hOC and dhOC.
Project description:Soil components (e.g., clays, bacteria and humic substances) are known to produce mineral-organic composites in natural systems. Herein, batch sorption isotherms, isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC), and Cd K-edge EXAFS spectroscopy were applied to investigate the binding characteristics of Cd on montmorillonite(Mont)-humic acid(HA)-bacteria composites. Additive sorption and non-additive Cd(II) sorption behaviour is observed for the binary Mont-bacteria and ternary Mont-HA-bacteria composite, respectively. Specifically, in the ternary composite, the coexistence of HA and bacteria inhibits Cd adsorption, suggesting a "blocking effect" between humic acid and bacterial cells. Large positive entropies (68.1~114.4 J/mol/K), and linear combination fitting of the EXAFS spectra for Cd adsorbed onto Mont-bacteria and Mont-HA-bacteria composites, demonstrate that Cd is mostly bound to bacterial surface functional groups by forming inner-sphere complexes. All our results together support the assertion that there is a degree of site masking in the ternary clay mineral-humic acid-bacteria composite. Because of this, in the ternary composite, Cd preferentially binds to the higher affinity components-i.e., the bacteria.
Project description:Over 80 heat treatment experiments have been made on samples of chloride-contaminated plutonium dioxide retrieved from two packages in storage at Sellafield. These packages dated from 1974 and 1980 and were produced in a batch process by conversion of plutonium oxalate in a furnace at around 550 °C. The storage package contained a poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC) bag between the screw top inner and outer metal cans. Degradation of the PVC has led to adsorption of hydrogen chloride together with other atmospheric gases onto the PuO2 surface. Analysis by caustic leaching and ion chromatography gave chloride contents of ?2000 to >5000 ppm Cl (i.e., ?gCl g-1 of the original sample). Although there are some subtle differences, in general, there is surprisingly good agreement in results from heat treatment experiments for all the samples from both cans. Mass loss on heating (LOH) plateaus at nearly 3 wt % above 700 °C, although samples that were long stored under an air atmosphere or preexposed to 95% relative humidity atmospheres, gave higher LOH up to ?4 wt %. The majority of the mass loss is due to adsorbed water and other atmospheric gases rather than chloride. Heating volatilizes chloride only above ?400 °C implying that simple physisorption of HCl is not the main cause of contamination. Interestingly, above 700 °C, >100% of the initial leachable chloride can be volatilized. Surface (leachable) chloride decreases quickly with heat treatment temperatures up to ?600 °C but only slowly above this temperature. Storage in air atmosphere post-heat treatment apparently leads to a reequilibration as leachable chloride increases. The presence of a "nonleachable" form of chloride was thus inferred and subsequently confirmed in PuO2 samples (pre- and post-heat treatment) that were fully dissolved and analyzed for the total chloride inventory. Reheating samples in either air or argon at temperatures up to the first heat treatment temperature did not volatilize significant amounts of additional chloride. With regard to a thermal stabilization process, heat treatment in flowing air at 800 °C with cooling and packaging under dry argon appears optimal, particularly, if thinner powder beds can be maintained. From electron microscopy, heat treatment appeared to have the most effect on degrading the square platelet particles compared to those with the trapezoidal morphology.
Project description:The interaction between cellulose and hemicelluloses is of fundamental importance for understanding the molecular architecture of plant cell walls. Adsorption of xyloglucan (XG) onto regenerated cellulose (RC), sulfated cellulose nanocrystal (s-CNC), and desulfated cellulose nanocrystal (d-CNC) films was studied by quartz crystal microbalance with dissipation monitoring, surface plasmon resonance, and atomic force microscopy. The amount of XG adsorbed onto different cellulose substrates increased in the order RC < s-CNC < d-CNC. The adsorption of XG onto RC films was independent of film thickness (d), whereas XG adsorption was weakly dependent on d for s-CNC films and strongly dependent on d for d-CNC films. However, approximately the same amount of XG adsorbed onto "monolayer-thin" films of RC, s-CNC, and d-CNC. These results suggest that the morphology and surface charge of the cellulose substrate played a limited role in XG adsorption and highlight the importance of film thickness of cellulose nanocrystalline films to XG adsorption.
Project description:Although, glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine) is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, its interaction with poorly crystalline iron oxides, such as ferrihydrite, is not well studied. In this research, we examined the adsorption of glyphosate onto ferrihydrite using infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR), adsorption kinetic models and adsorption isotherm models. The effect of pH and sodium chloride concentration on the adsorption of glyphosate onto ferrihydrite as well as the effect of extractors (CaCl2 0.010 mol L-1 and Mehlich) on the desorption of glyphosate were also evaluated. There are two important findings described in this work. First, 84% of adsorbed glyphosate strongly interacted to ferrihydrite as an inner-sphere complex and phosphate and amine groups are involved in this interaction. Second, an increase of sodium chloride salt concentration increased the adsorption of glyphosate onto ferrihydrite. The non-linear Langmuir model and pseudo second order model showed a good agreement of theoretical limit of glyphosate adsorbed onto ferrihydrite, 54.88 µg mg-1 and 48.8 µg mg-1, respectively. The adsorption of glyphosate onto ferrihydrite decreased when the pH increased. Under the conditions used in this work, EPR spectra did not show dissolution of ferrihydrite. Surface area, pore volume and pHpzc of ferrihydrite decreased after adsorption of glyphosate.