Researchers from Mainz discover that liquid flow changes surface chemistry of minerals, with implications for geological sciences.
A collaborative research team from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPIP) in Germany and the University of Namur in Belgium discovered a fundamental, yet unnoticed, phenomenon that motion of water along a mineral surface changes the charge of that surface. The researchers published their finding in Science.
The international research team in Mainz led by Mischa Bonn studied how moving water, like in riverbeds or creeks, affects mineral surfaces and their dissolution. Remarkably, water flow along fluorite and glass surfaces makes these surfaces more positively charged. In the case of fluorite, a 100-fold increase in acid concentration was required to induce similar effects in static water.
Water molecules as reporters
Surfaces of minerals acquire a charge when immersed in water, as part of the minerals can be released from the surface as charged ions. This was known, but that moving water can change the surface charge was entirely unexpected. The research team in Mainz measured the surface charge of immersed minerals using the water molecules directly at the interface as reporters.
Water molecules have a positive and a negative end, and align toward the surface, depending on the surface charge. The interfacial water molecules were interrogated by overlapping two laser pulses of different color at the liquid-mineral interface, whereby a new color can be generated that provides extremely specific information about the interfacial region.
In this manner, both the orientation (pointing up- or downwards) and the number of oriented water molecules can be directly measured, which provides direct access to the surface charge.
The experiments show that flowing a liquid in contact with minerals induces a preferential dissolution of specific mineral constituents. In the case of fluorite, negatively charged ions are preferentially dissolved while positively charged ions remain at the mineral surface. The researchers were even able to show that the sign of the surface charge can be controlled with flow, so that water molecules could be made to reorient, depending on the presence or absence of flow.
The observed phenomenon seems to be rather ubiquitous in geology. Particularly because this phenomenon occurs not only for fluorite, but also for silica surfaces – silicates constitute more than half of the minerals in the earth crust. “These new insights on the fundamentals of mineral dissolution force us to reconsider well-established theories in weathering and environmental sciences to take into account changes in surface charge in addition to well-documented surface erosion.”, explains Mischa Bonn.
Prof. Dr. Mischa Bonn | Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research
Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world
08.02.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Werkstoff- und Strahltechnik IWS
New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components
23.01.2017 | Evonik Industries AG
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering
21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News