Interaction of uranyl with calcite in the presence of EDTA

Sophie Rihs, Neil C. Sturchio*, Kent Orlandini, Likwan Cheng, Henry Teng, Paul Fenter, Michael J. Bedzyk

*Corresponding author for this work

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37 Scopus citations


Adsorption of uranyl at the surface of calcite was investigated by using batch sorption experiments and synchrotron X-ray standing wave (XSW) measurements. Aqueous solutions containing 236U(VI) (4.5 x 10 -7 to 1.0 x 10-4 M) and EDTA (5.0 x 10-7 to 1.1 x 10-4 M) were reacted for 90 s to 60 min with freshly cleaved calcite (104) surfaces and calcite powders. Surface exchange coefficients, sorption kinetics, and influence of powder surface area/solution volume (SA/V) ratio were investigated by α-counting of 236U. Powder sorption results at SA/V = 870 cm2/mL fit a Freundlich isotherm [log [U] surface (in monolayers) = log K + n log [U]aq (in moles/L)], where K = 1.9 ± 0.5 and n = 0.9 ± 0.1, consistent with uptake of U(VI) by a specific surface reaction where the availability of sorption sites is nonlimiting in the U concentration range measured. Measured U(VI) coverages along this isotherm, based on the calcite (104) surface Ca site density, ranged from 0.04% to 5.4% of a monolayer. Steady state surface coverages were obtained within 90 s. Sorption of U(VI) on calcite (104) single-crystal cleavage surfaces using identical solutions yielded higher coverages, because of increased step density induced by dissolution at the relatively low SA/V ratio (∼1) of these measurements. The crystallographic location of the sorbed U(VI) was examined with the synchrotron XSW technique. Measurements were performed at the Advanced Photon Source on fresh calcite (104) cleavage surfaces reacted for 90 s with U(VI) solutions. Coherent fractions for sorbed U ranged from 0.14 to 0.62, and the mean value of the U coherent position was 0.84 ± 0.02. This position was independent of dissolved U(VI) concentration and corresponds to a distance between the U atom and the calcite (104) plane of 2.55 ± 0.06 Å. These results are consistent with U(VI) adsorption at the calcite surface as an inner-sphere uranyl-carbonate surface complex bonded with the outer oxygen atom(s) of a single surface carbonate group. Steric considerations allow this observed U(VI) surface complex to occur both at step sites (〈441〉 and 〈481〉) and on terrace areas adjacent to Ca vacancies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5078-5086
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 5 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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