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Title: Precipitation of calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate under diffusion controlled mixing

Multi-component mineral precipitation in porous, subsurface environments is challenging to simulate or engineer when in situ reactant mixing is controlled by diffusion. In contrast to well-mixed systems, the conditions that favor mineral precipitation in porous media are distributed along chemical gradients, which evolve spatially due to concurrent mineral precipitation and modification of solute transport in the media. The resulting physical and chemical characteristics of a mixing/precipitation zone are a consequence of coupling between transport and chemical processes, and the distinctive properties of individual chemical systems. We examined the spatial distribution of precipitates formed in “double diffusion” columns for two chemical systems, calcium carbonate and calcium phosphate. Polyacrylamide hydrogel was used as a low permeability, high porosity medium to maximize diffusive mixing and minimize pressure- and density-driven flow between reactant solutions. In the calcium phosphate system, multiple, visually dense and narrow bands of precipitates were observed that were reminiscent of previously reported Liesegang patterns. In the calcium carbonate system, wider precipitation zones characterized by more sparse distributions of precipitates and a more open channel structure were observed. In both cases, formation of precipitates inhibited, but did not necessarily eliminate, continued transport and mixing of the reactants. A reactive transport model withmore » fully implicit coupling between diffusion, chemical speciation and precipitation kinetics, but where explicit details of nucleation processes were neglected, was able to qualitatively simulate properties of the precipitation zones. The results help to illustrate how changes in the physical properties of a precipitation zone depend on coupling between diffusion-controlled reactant mixing and chemistry-specific details of precipitation kinetics.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0883-2927
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Applied Geochemistry; Journal Volume: 46
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES/GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE STUDIES AND CLIMATE MITIGATION calcite; calcium carbonate; calcium phosphate; diffusion; double diffusion; hydroxyapatite; mineral precipitation; mixing; porosity; solute transport