Specific surface area of some minerals commonly found in granite
Abstract: The specific surface area, determined by the BET method, is a parameter often used to scale results of mineral studies of surface reactions in terms of rate and capacity to the field scale. Such extrapolations of results from small-scale laboratory experiments to the field-scale are important within many environmental applications. An example of this is for the prediction of radionuclide retention in the bedrock surrounding a deep repository for radioactive waste, following failure of the engineered barriers, where radionuclides may sorb onto minerals constituting the geological environment.As a first step, the approach used in this work is to study the relationship between specific surface area and the particle size (0.075-8 mm) and to approach the field scale via measurements on large, centimetre-sized pieces, for seven natural minerals commonly found in granite: apatite, biotite, chlorite, K-feldspar, hornblende, labradorite and magnetite. The underlying assumption is that sorption of radionuclides can be related to specific surface area of a particular mineral in a continuation of this project.The results show that the phyllosilicates biotite and chlorite have a specific surface area that is about 10 times larger than the other minerals. Over the range of particle size fractions studied, the specific surface area varies between 0.1 and 1.2 m2g-1 for biotite and chlorite. The other studied minerals have specific surface areas varying between 0.01 m2g-1 for the largest fraction and up to 0.06 - 0.12 m2g-1 for the smallest. Results show linear relationships between the specific surface area and the inverse of the particle size for all studied minerals for small particle sizes, as expected. For some minerals, however, the data seemingly can be divided in two linear trends, where a change in internal surface area, surface roughness and/or particle geometry as the particle size decreases may explain this behaviour.Interestingly, for larger particles, there is a deviation from the linearity observed for small particles. Tentatively, this behaviour is attributed to a disturbed zone, created by the mechanical treatment of the material during particle size reduction, extending throughout small particles, but not altering an undisturbed core of the larger particles. In agreement with this, measurements on large pieces show a surface area 5 to 150 times lower than expected from the linear trends observed for the crushed material, implying an overestimation of the surface area and possibly also of the sorption capacities of the rock material from simple extrapolations of experimental results employing finely crushed material to the field situation.
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