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Selenite and Selenate Sequestration during Coprecipitation with Barite: Insights from Mineralization Processes of Adsorption, Nucleation, and Growth

Publication Type
Journal Name
Environmental Science & Technology
Publication Date
Page Numbers
15518 to 15527

Coprecipitation of selenium oxyanions with barite is a facile way to sequester Se in the environments. However, the chemical composition of Se-barite coprecipitates usually deviates from that predicted from thermodynamic calculations. This discrepancy was resolved by considering variations in nucleation and growth rates controlled by ion–mineral interactions, solubility, and interfacial energy. For homogeneous precipitation, ∼10% of sulfate, higher than thermodynamic predictions (<0.3%), was substituted by Se(IV) or Se(VI) oxyanion, which was attributed to adsorption-induced entrapment during crystal growth. For heterogeneous precipitation, thiol- and carboxylic-based organic films, utilized as model interfaces to mimic the natural organic-abundant environments, further enhanced the sequestration of Se(VI) oxyanions (up to 41–92%) with barite. Such enhancement was kinetically driven by increased nucleation rates of selenate-rich barite having a lower interfacial energy than pure barite. In contrast, only small amounts of Se(IV) oxyanions (∼1%) were detected in heterogeneous coprecipitates mainly due to a lower saturation index of BaSeO3 and deprotonation degree of Se(IV) oxyanion at pH 5.6. These roles of nanoscale mineralization mechanisms observed during composition selection of Se-barite could mark important steps toward the remediation of contaminants through coprecipitation.