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Cobalt incorporation in calcite: Thermochemistry of (Ca,Co)CO3 solid solutions from density functional theory simulations

Gonzalez-Lopez, J., Ruiz-Hernandez, S. E., Fernandez-Gonzalez, Á., Jimenez, A., de Leeuw, N. H. and Grau-Crespo, R. (2014) Cobalt incorporation in calcite: Thermochemistry of (Ca,Co)CO3 solid solutions from density functional theory simulations. Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta, 142. pp. 205-216. ISSN 0016-7037

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2014.07.026


The incorporation of cobalt in mixed metal carbonates is a possible route to the immobilization of this toxic element in the environment. However, the thermodynamics of (Ca,Co)CO3 solid solutions are still unclear due to conflicting data from experiment and from the observation of natural ocurrences. We report here the results of a computer simulation study of the mixing of calcite (CaCO3) and spherocobaltite (CoCO3), using density functional theory calculations. Our simulations suggest that previously proposed thermodynamic models, based only on the range of observed compositions, significantly overestimate the solubility between the two solids and therefore underestimate the extension of the miscibility gap under ambient conditions. The enthalpy of mixing of the disordered solid solution is strongly positive and moderately asymmetric: calcium incorporation in spherocobaltite is more endothermic than cobalt incorporation in calcite. Ordering of the impurities in (0001) layers is energetically favourable with respect to the disordered solid solution at low temperatures and intermediate compositions, but the ordered phase is still unstable to demixing. We calculate the solvus and spinodal lines in the phase diagram using a sub-regular solution model, and conclude that many Ca1-xCoxCO3 mineral solid solutions (with observed compositions of up to x=0.027, and above x=0.93) are metastable with respect to phase separation. We also calculate solid/aqueous distribution coefficients to evaluate the effect of the strong non-ideality of mixing on the equilibrium with aqueous solution, showing that the thermodynamically-driven incorporation of cobalt in calcite (and of calcium in spherocobaltite) is always very low, regardless of the Co/Ca ratio of the aqueous environment.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF)
Life Sciences > School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy > Department of Chemistry
ID Code:37803

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