Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree

Fall 2014

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Michelle M. Scherer

Abstract

Hematite (α-Fe2O3) is a common, naturally occurring iron oxide, found throughout the earth's crust and atmosphere. Hematite is of interest to the scientific community because it is able to incite a reaction that produces hydrogen gas (H2), which is a form of clean energy (Bora et al., 2013). The composition of hematite in nature is also used to make inferences about conditions on early earth's surface (Guo et al., 2013). Hematite is useful for clean energy production and as an environmental indicator partly because of its apparent stability. However, some evidence suggests that hematite might not be as stable as previously thought.

Many iron oxides undergo Fe atom exchange when they come into contact with aqueous Fe(II), as often occurs in nature (Pedersen et al., 2005, Jones et al., 2009, Gorski et al., 2012, Handler et al., 2009). This atom exchange can result in elements and nutrients being taken up or released from the iron oxides as they recrystallize (Frierdich & Catalano, 2012, Cwiertny et al., 2008, Boland et al., 2014). Although atom exchange has not been directly shown in hematite, it has been demonstrated that trace metals are released from hematite in the presence of aqueous Fe(II), implying that exchange may be occurring (Frierdich et al., 2011). Here, we directly demonstrate Fe atom exchange between hematite and aqueous Fe(II). This work provides knowledge concerning the surface chemistry of hematite that has important implications for clean energy production and the environment.

Public Abstract

Hematite (α-Fe2O3) is a common, naturally occurring iron oxide, found throughout the earth’s crust and atmosphere. Hematite is of interest to the scientific community because it is able to catalyze a reaction that produces hydrogen gas (H2), which is a form of clean energy. The composition of hematite in nature is also used to make inferences about conditions on early earth’s surface. Hematite is useful for clean energy production and as an environmental indicator partly because of its apparent stability. However, some evidence suggests that hematite might not be as stable as previously thought.

Many iron oxides undergo Fe atom exchange when they come into contact with aqueous Fe(II), as often occurs in nature. This atom exchange can result in elements and nutrients being taken up or released from the iron oxides as they recrystallize. Although atom exchange has not been directly observed in hematite, it has been demonstrated that trace metals are released from hematite in the presence of aqueous Fe(II), implying that exchange may be occurring. Here, we directly observe Fe atom exchange between hematite and aqueous Fe(II). This work provides information concerning the surface chemistry of hematite and has important implications for clean energy production and the environment.

Keywords

publicabstract, Hematite, Iron Oxide, Recrystallization

Pages

vii, 30 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 28-30).

Copyright

Copyright 2014 Maria Rose Helgeson

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