Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2010

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Scherer, Michelle M

First Committee Member

Parkin, Gene F

Second Committee Member

Just, Craig L


Although interfacial electron transfer has been shown to occur for sorbed Fe(II) and Fe-oxides, it is unclear if a similar reaction occurs between sorbed Fe(II) and Fe(III)-bearing clay minerals. Here, we use the isotope specificity of 57Fe Mössbauer spectroscopy to demonstrate electron transfer between sorbed Fe(II) and structural Fe(III) in a nontronite clay mineral (NAu-2). Appearance of an Fe(II) doublet in the NAu-2 spectra after reaction with aqueous 56Fe(II) (56Fe is transparent in Mössbauer spectra) provided evidence for reduction of structural Fe(III). Mössbauer spectra using enriched 57Fe(II) reveal that Fe(II) is oxidized upon sorption to NAu-2, and the oxidation product of this reaction is a ferric oxide with spectral parameters similar to lepidocrocite. The reduction of structural Fe(III) by Fe(II) induces electron delocalization in the clay structure, which we observe by variable-temperature Mössbauer spectra and macroscopic color change indicative of Fe(II)-Fe(III) pairs. The extent of structural Fe(III) reduction in NAu-2 is equal to the amount of Fe(II) sorbed until approximately 15% reduction, after which point reduction is no longer concomitant with the amount of sorbed Fe(II).


Electron Transfer, Fe, Mossbauer Spectroscopy, Nontronite


xiii, 122 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 110-122).


Copyright 2010 Michael Vernon Schaefer