Adsorption of Humic Acid on Goethite: Isotherms, Charge Adjustments, and Potential Profiles
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The adsorption of natural organic matter (NOM) on mineral (hydr)oxide plays an important role in the evaluation of the speciation of toxic metal ions in the environment. Because both NOM and mineral oxide have variable charges that adjust upon adsorption, a good understanding of proton binding is required before the binding of metal ions can be understood. In this study, the adsorption of purified Aldrich humic acid (PAHA) on goethite was examined as a function of the environmental conditions (pH, salt concentration, and free concentration of PAHA) together with the proton adsorption to PAHA, goethite, and their mixtures. The induced charges on both components were separated on the basis of the difference between the charge/pH curves of the mixture and those of the single components. The electrostatic potential profile across the adsorbed layer was obtained as a numerical solution of the Poisson-Boltzmann equation using the charge density of the adsorbed PAHA and the goethite surface. From the quantitative evaluation of the induced charge on both components, it is revealed that the degree of the charge adjustment is related to the electrostatic affinity between the PAHA segments and the goethite surface, the electrostatic repulsion between the PAHA segments, and the electrostatic shielding by salt ions. Considering the charge distribution of the adsorbed PAHA at the goethite surface, it is concluded that the change of the charge adjustment is sensitive to that of the conformation of the adsorbed PAHA. From the detailed inspection of the assumptions made and the comparison with the reported theoretical calculations, the obtained potential profiles are considered to broadly reflect the true potential profiles. Because a charge adjustment is not frequently considered in detail in relation to the NOM adsorption on metal (hydr)oxides, the obtained results can form the basis for the further development of modeling of the adsorption of NOM on (hydr)oxide surfaces.
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