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Author ORCID ID is 0000000178769387
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  1. Using molecular dynamics simulation, we studied the density fluctuations and cavity formation probabilities in aqueous solutions and their effect on the hydration of CO 2. With increasing salt concentration, we report an increased probability of observing a larger than the average number of species in the probe volume. Our energetic analyses indicate that the van der Waals and electrostatic interactions between CO 2 and aqueous solutions become more favorable with increasing salt concentration, favoring the solubility of CO 2 (salting in). However, due to the decreasing number of cavities forming when salt concentration is increased, the solubility of CO 2more » decreases. The formation of cavities was found to be the primary control on the dissolution of gas, and is responsible for the observed CO 2 salting-out effect. Finally, our results provide the fundamental understanding of the density fluctuation in aqueous solutions and the molecular origin of the salting-out effect for real gas.« less
  2. Adsorption and redox transformations on clay mineral surfaces are prevalent in surface environments. We examined the redox reactivity of iron Fe(II)/Fe(III) associated with natural and synthetic ferric nontronites. Specifically, we assessed how Fe(II) residing in the octahedral sheets, or Fe(II) adsorbed at the edge sites alters redox activity of nontronites. To probe the redox activity we used arsenic (As) and selenium (Se). Activation of both synthetic and natural ferric nontronites was. observed following the introduction of Fe(II) into predominantly-Fe(III) octahedral sheets or through the adsorption of Fe(II) onto the mineral surface. The oxidation of As(III) to As(V) was observed viamore » catalytic (oxic conditions) and, to a lesser degree, via direct (anoxic conditions) pathways. We provide experimental evidence for electron transfer from As(III) to Fe(111) at the natural and synthetic nontronite surfaces, and illustrate that only a fraction of structural Fe(III) is accessible for redox transformations. We show that As adsorbed onto natural and synthetic nontronites forms identical adsorption complexes, namely inner-sphere binuclear bidentate. In conclusion, we show that the formation of an inner-sphere adsorption complex may be a necessary step for the redox transformation via catalytic or direct oxidation pathways.« less
  3. Heterogeneous redox reactions on clay mineral surfaces control mobility and bioavailability of redox-sensitive nutrients and contaminants. Iron (Fe) residing in clay mineral structures can either catalyze or directly participate in redox reactions; but, chemical controls over its reactivity are not fully understood. In our previous work we demonstrated that converting a minor portion of Fe(III) to Fe(II) (partial reduction) in the octahedral sheet of natural Fe-rich clay mineral nontronite (NAu-1) activates its surface, making it redox-active. In this study we produced and characterized synthetic ferric nontronite (SIP), highlighting structural and chemical similarities and differences between this synthetic nontronite and itsmore » natural counterpart NAu-1, and probed whether mineral surface is redox-active by reacting it with arsenic As(III) under oxic and anoxic conditions. Here, we demonstrate that synthetic nontronite SIP undergoes the same activation as natural nontronite NAu-1 following the partial reduction treatment. Similar to NAu-1, SIP oxidized As(III) to As(V) under both oxic (catalytic pathway) and anoxic (direct oxidation) conditions. The similar reactivity trends observed for synthetic nontronite and its natural counterpart make SIP an appropriate analog for laboratory studies. The development of chemically pure analogs for ubiquitous soil minerals will allow for systematic research of the fundamental properties of these minerals.« less

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