Physics and Chemistry of Minerals

, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 443–454

Cation substitution in synthetic meridianiite (MgSO4·11H2O) II: variation in unit-cell parameters determined from X-ray powder diffraction data

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00269-012-0498-8

Cite this article as:
Fortes, A.D., Browning, F. & Wood, I.G. Phys Chem Minerals (2012) 39: 443. doi:10.1007/s00269-012-0498-8


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+.


Meridianiite Undecahydrate Enneahydrate Octahydrate Cation substitution 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Dominic Fortes
    • 1
    • 2
  • Frank Browning
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ian G. Wood
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity College LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Centre for Planetary Sciences at UCL/BirkbeckLondonUK

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