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
New process for cell transfection in high-throughput screening
21.03.2016 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
Sustainable products: Fraunhofer LBF investigates recycling of halogen-free flame retardant
17.02.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF
Permanent magnets are very important for technologies of the future like electromobility and renewable energy, and rare earth elements (REE) are necessary for their manufacture. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Freiburg, Germany, has now succeeded in identifying promising approaches and materials for new permanent magnets through use of an in-house simulation process based on high-throughput screening (HTS). The team was able to improve magnetic properties this way and at the same time replaced REE with elements that are less expensive and readily available. The results were published in the online technical journal “Scientific Reports”.
The starting point for IWM researchers Wolfgang Körner, Georg Krugel, and Christian Elsässer was a neodymium-iron-nitrogen compound based on a type of...
In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.
In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...
Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices
Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.
When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene
In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...
The trend-forward world of display technology relies on innovative materials and novel approaches to steadily advance the visual experience, for example through higher pixel densities, better contrast, larger formats or user-friendler design. Fraunhofer ISC’s newly developed materials for optics and electronics now broaden the application potential of next generation displays. Learn about lower cost-effective wet-chemical printing procedures and the new materials at the Fraunhofer ISC booth # 1021 in North Hall D during the SID International Symposium on Information Display held from 22 to 27 May 2016 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.
24.05.2016 | Event News
20.05.2016 | Event News
19.05.2016 | Event News
25.05.2016 | Trade Fair News
25.05.2016 | Life Sciences
25.05.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering