, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 443-454
Date: 22 Mar 2012

Cation substitution in synthetic meridianiite (MgSO4 ·11H2 O) II: variation in unit-cell parameters determined from X-ray powder diffraction data

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


We have prepared aqueous MgSO4 solutions doped with various divalent metal cations (Ni2+, Zn2+, Mn2+, Cu2+, Fe2+, and Co2+) in proportions up to and including the pure end-members. These liquids have been solidified into fine-grained polycrystalline blocks of metal sulfate hydrate + ice by rapid quenching in liquid nitrogen. In a companion paper (Fortes et al., in Phys Chem Min 39) we reported the identification of various phases using X-ray powder diffraction, including meridianiite-structured undecahydrates, melanterite- and epsomite-structured heptahydrates, novel enneahydrates and a new octahydrate. In this work we report the changes in unit-cell parameters of these crystalline products where they exist over sufficient dopant concentrations. We find that there is a linear relationship between the rate of change in unit-cell volume as a function of dopant concentration and the ionic radius of the dopant cation; large ions such as Mn2+ produce a substantial inflation of the hydrates’ unit-cell volume, whereas smaller ions such as Ni2+ produce a modest reduction in unit-cell volume. Indeed, when the data for all hydrates are normalised (i.e., divided by the number of formula units per unit-cell, Z, and the hydration number, n), we find a quantitatively similar relationship for different values of n. Conversely, there is no relationship between the degree of unit-cell inflation or deflation and the limit to which a given cation will substitute into a certain hydrate structure; for example, Co2+ and Zn2+ affect the unit-cell volume of MgSO4·11H2O to a very similar degree, yet the solubility limits inferred in our companion paper are >60 mol. % Co2+ and <30 mol. % Zn2+.