Combined application of QEM-SEM and hard X-ray microscopy to determine mineralogical associations and chemical speciation of trace metals
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We describe the application of quantitative evaluation of mineralogy by scanning electron microscopy in combination with techniques commonly available at hard X-ray microprobes to define the mineralogical environment of a bauxite residue core segment with the more specific aim of determining the speciation of trace metals (e.g., Ti, V, Cr, and Mn) within the mineral matrix. Successful trace metal speciation in heterogeneous matrices, such as those encountered in soils or mineral residues, relies on a combination of techniques including spectroscopy, microscopy, diff raction, and wet chemical and physical experiments. Of substantial interest is the ability to define the mineralogy of a sample to infer redox behavior, pH buff ering, and mineral-water interfaces that are likely to interact with trace metals through adsorption, coprecipitation, dissolution, or electron transfer reactions. Quantitative evaluation of mineralogy by scanning electron microscopy coupled with micro-focused X-ray diff raction, micro-X-ray fluorescence, and micro-X-ray absorption near edge structure (µXANES) spectroscopy provided detailed insights into the composition of mineral assemblages and their effect on trace metal speciation during this investigation. In the sample investigated, titanium occurs as poorly ordered ilmenite, as rutile, and is substituted in iron oxides. Manganese's spatial correlation to Ti is closely linked to ilmenite, where it appears to substitute for Fe and Ti in the ilmenite structure based on its µXANES signature. Vanadium is associated with ilmenite and goethite but always assumes the +4 oxidation state, whereas chromium is predominantly in the +3 oxidation state and solely associated with iron oxides (goethite and hematite) and appears to substitute for Fe in the goethite structure. © 2011 by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America.
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