Humic acids (HA) have a colloidal character whose size and negative charge are strictly dependent on surface functional groups. They are able to complex large amount of poorly ordered iron (hydr)oxides in soil as a function of pH and other environmental conditions. Accordingly, with the present study we intend to assess the colloidal properties of Fe(II) coprecipitated with humic acids (HA) and their effect on Fe hydroxide crystallinity under abiotic oxidation and order of addition of both Fe(II) and HA. TEM, XRD and DRS experiments showed that Fe–HA consisted of Ferrihydrite with important structural variations. DLS data of Fe–HA at acidic pH showed a bimodal size distribution, while at very low pH a slow aggregation process was observed. Electrophoretic zeta-potential measurements revealed a negative surface charge for Fe–HA macromolecules, providing a strong electrostatic barrier against aggregation. Under alkaline conditions HA chains swelled, which resulted in an enhanced stabilization of the colloid particles. The increasing of zeta potential and size of the Fe–HA macromolecules, reflects a linear dependence of both with pH. The increase in the size and negative charge of the Fe–HA precipitate seems to be more affected by the ionization of the phenolic acid groups, than by the carboxylic acid groups. The main cause of negative charge generation of Fe/HA is due to increased dissociation of phenolic groups in more expanded structure. The increased net negative surface potential induced by coprecipitation with Ferrihydrite and the correspondent changes in configuration of the HA could trigger the inter-particle aggregation with the formation of new negative surface. The Fe–HA coprecipitation can reduce electrosteric repulsive forces, which in turn may inhibit the aggregation process at different pH. Therefore, coprecipitation of Ferrihydrite would be expected to play an important role in the carbon stabilization and persistence not only in organic soils, but also in waters containing dissolved organic matter.
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1016/j.chemosphere.2013.10.092|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000332141300029|
|Codice identificativo Scopus:||2-s2.0-84893770870|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|