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Mechanisms of uranyl and phosphate (co)sorption: Complexation and precipitation at α-Al2O3 surfaces

Abstract : This study presents new in situ electrophoretic and ATR-FTIR data on the surface species controlling the cosorption of uranyl and phosphate ions in α-Al2O3 suspensions at acidic pH (3.3). It was shown that the uranyl sorption (i) was promoted in the presence of phosphate, (ii) induced significant changes in zeta potential of P-loaded alumina, and (iii) was governed by two mechanisms, surface complexation and surface precipitation, with the predominant species being mainly dependent on phosphate surface coverage. Formation of surface precipitates of uranyl phosphate at high phosphate surface coverage was inferred from the high negative charges imparted to the surface by uranyl and phosphate (co)sorption, and from assignments of IR bands at 1107, 1024, and 971cm-1 to P-O-stretching vibrations for phosphate coordinated to uranyl, at the alumina surface. The ATR-FTIR study showed that the precipitates of uranyl phosphate formed at the surface of α-Al2O3 for aqueous concentrations of uranyl at trace levels. It also evidenced that formation of surface precipitates of U(VI)-phosphate was occurring along with the transformation of alumina into secondary surface precipitates of Al-phosphate, at very high phosphate concentrations. These findings are relevant to the mechanisms of adsorption of trace uranyl on naturally occurring oxide surfaces, in soils with low pH where cosorption of phosphate and uranyl ions is known to play a crucial role in the long-term retention of U.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - 3:28:14 PM
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Catherine Galindo, Mirella del Nero, Rémi Barillon, Éric Halter, Benoît Madé. Mechanisms of uranyl and phosphate (co)sorption: Complexation and precipitation at α-Al2O3 surfaces. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Elsevier, 2010, 347 (2), pp.282-289. ⟨10.1016/j.jcis.2010.03.045⟩. ⟨hal-00716885⟩

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