Structure and Surface Complexation at the Calcite(104)-Water Interface

F Heberling and T Klacic and P Raiteri and JD Gale and PJ Eng and JE Stubbs and T Gil-Diaz and T Begovic and J Lutzenkirchen, ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY, 55, 12403-12413 (2021).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.1c03578

Calcite is the most stable polymorph of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) under ambient conditions and is ubiquitous in natural systems. It plays a major role in controlling pH in environmental settings. Electrostatic phenomena at the calcite-water interface and the surface reactivity of calcite in general have important environmental implications. They may strongly impact nutrient and contaminant mobility in soils and other subsurface environments, they control oil recovery from limestone reservoirs, and they may impact the safety of nuclear waste disposal sites. Besides the environmental relevance, the topic is significant for industrial applications and cultural heritage preservation. In this study, the structure of the calcite(104)- water interface is investigated on the basis of a new extensive set of crystal truncation rod data. The results agree with recently reported structures and resolve previous ambiguities with respect to the coordination sphere of surface Ca ions. These structural features are introduced into an electrostatic three-plane surface complexation model, describing ion adsorption and charging at the calcite-water interface. Inner surface potential data for calcite, as measured with a calcite single-crystal electrode, are used as constraints for the model in addition to zeta potential data. Ion adsorption parameters are compared with molecular dynamics simulations. All model parameters, including protonation constants, ion-binding parameters, and Helmholtz capacitances, are within physically and chemically plausible ranges. A PhreeqC version of the model is presented, which we hope will foster application of the model in environmental studies.

Return to Publications page