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Pyrite oxidation under simulated acid rain weathering conditions

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We investigated the electrochemical corrosion behavior of pyrite in simulated acid rain with different acidities and at different temperatures. The cyclic voltammetry, polarization curve, and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy results showed that pyrite has the same electrochemical interaction mechanism under different simulated acid rain conditions, regardless of acidity or environmental temperature. Either stronger acid rain acidity or higher environmental temperature can accelerate pyrite corrosion. Compared with acid rain having a pH of 5.6 at 25 °C, the prompt efficiency of pyrite weathering reached 104.29% as the acid rain pH decreased to 3.6, and it reached 125.31% as environmental temperature increased to 45 °C. Increasing acidity dramatically decreases the charge transfer resistance, and increasing temperature dramatically decreases the passivation film resistance, when other conditions are held constant. Acid rain always causes lower acidity mine drainage, and stronger acidity or high environmental temperatures cause serious acid drainage. The natural parameters of latitude, elevation, and season have considerable influence on pyrite weathering, because temperature is an important influencing factor. These experimental results are of direct significance for the assessment and management of sulfide mineral acid drainage in regions receiving acid rain.

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This work was financially supported by the 135 Program of the Institute of Geochemistry, CAS, and the 863 High Technology Research and Development Program of China (2010AA09Z207).

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Correspondence to Qingyou Liu.

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Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

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Zheng, K., Li, H., Wang, L. et al. Pyrite oxidation under simulated acid rain weathering conditions. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 21710–21720 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-9804-9

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  • Pyrite
  • Simulated acid rain
  • Weathering
  • pH drainage