Interactions of calcium and fulvic acid at the goethite-water interface

L.P. Weng, L.K. Koopal, T. Hiemstra, J.C.L. Meeussen, W.H. van Riemsdijk

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Interactions of calcium and fulvic acid (Strichen) with the surface of goethite were studied with batch and titration experiments. The mutual influence of the interactions on the adsorption of fulvic acid, calcium ions and protons were examined. Adsorption of the fulvic acid to goethite decreased with increase in pH (pH range 3¿11). Addition of Ca (1.0 mM) at intermediate and high pH significantly enhanced the adsorption of fulvic acid. Compared to the adsorption to pure goethite, the presence of fulvic acid enhanced the adsorption of Ca significantly. In comparison to the simple linear sum of Ca bound to fulvic acid and goethite, the interactions between goethite and fulvic acid led to a reduced adsorption of Ca at low pH and an enhanced adsorption at high pH. With the adsorption of fulvic acid, protons were released at low pH and coadsorbed at high pH. When Ca was added, fewer protons were released at low pH and fewer coadsorbed at high pH. The experimental results can be adequately described using a surface complexation model, the Ligand and Charge Distribution (LCD) model, in which the CD-MUSIC model for ion adsorption to mineral oxides and the NICA model for ion binding to humics are integrated. In the model calculations, adequate descriptions of the ternary system data (Ca-fulvic acid-goethite) were obtained with parameters derived from three binary systems (fulvic acid-goethite, Ca-goethite and Ca-fulvic acid) without further adjustment. The model calculations suggest that the interactions between Ca and fulvic acid at the surface of goethite are mainly due to the electrostatic effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-339
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • metal-ion binding
  • nica-donnan model
  • solid-solution interface
  • natural organic-matter
  • humic substances
  • chemical heterogeneity
  • mineral particles
  • variable charge
  • proton binding
  • heavy-metals

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