In situ Atomic Force Microscopy study of dissolution of the barite (001) surface in water at 30°C

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The dissolution behavior of the barite (001) surface in pure water at 30°C was investigated using in situ Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), to better understand the dissolution mechanism and the microtopographical changes that occur during the dissolution, such as steps and etch pits. The dissolution of the barite (001) surface started with the slow retreat of steps, after which, about 60min later, the <hk0> steps of one unit cell layer or multi-layers became two-step fronts (fast "f" and slow "s" steps) with a half-unit cell layer showing different retreat rates. The "f" step had a fast retreat rate (≈(14±1)×10-2nm/s) and tended to have a jagged step edge, whereas the "s" step (≈(1.8±0.1)×10-2nm/s) had a relatively straight front. The formation of the "f" steps led to the formation of a new one-layer step, where the front of the "s" step was overtaken by that of the immediate underlying "f" step. The "f" steps also led to the decrease of the <hk0> steps and the increase in the percentage of stable steps parallel to the [010] direction during the dissolution. Etch pits, which could be observed after about 90min, were of three types: triangular etch pits with a depth of a half-unit cell, shallow etch pits, and deep etch pits. The triangular etch pits were bounded by the step edges parallel to [010], [120], and [12̄0] and had opposite orientations in the upper half and lower half layers. Shallow etch pits that had a depth of two or more half-unit cell layers had any two consecutive pits pointing in the opposite direction of each other. The triangular etch pit appeared to grow by simultaneously removal of a row of ions parallel to each direction from the three step edges. At first, deep etch pits were elongated in the [010] direction with a curved outline and then gradually developed to an angular form bounded by the {100}, {310}, and (001) faces. The retreat rate of the (001) face was much slower than those of the {100} and {310} and tended to separate into two rates ((0.13±0.01)×10-2nm/s for the deep etch pits derived from a screw dislocation and (0.07±0.01)×10-2nm/s for those from other line defects).The changes in the dissolution rate of a barite (0. 0. 1) surface during the dissolution were estimated using the retreat rates and densities of the various steps as well as the growth rates, density, and areas of the lateral faces of the deep etch pits that were obtained from this AFM analysis. Our results showed that the dissolution rate of the barite (0. 0. 1) surface gradually increased and approached the bulk dissolution rate because of the change in the main factor determining the dissolution rate from the density of the steps to the growth and the density of the deep etch pits on the surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-51
Number of pages11
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology


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