Aquatic Geochemistry

, Volume 1, Issue 4, pp 375–397 | Cite as

On the surface precipitation model for cation sorption at the (hydr)oxide water interface

  • J. Lützenkirchen
  • Ph. Behra


The surface precipitation model has been developed to describe sorption data over a wide range of free sorbate concentration. It provides a smooth transition from adsorption to surface precipitation. The applicability of the model has been shown in several publications. In most of the previous applications of the surface precipitation model all sorbent present was supposed to take part in the formation of an ideal solid solution. We show that if only the sorbent present as surface sites contributes to the ‘solid solution’, the isotherm of the surface precipitation model reduces to the well-known BET isotherm. Between these limiting cases it is difficult to find a unique description of the macroscopic data. Some further problems involved in parameter estimation are discussed: especially for weakly adsorbing metal cations or those with low solubilities the choice of modelling parameters may be difficult. We describe how the observed difficulties may be used to estimate if adsorption constants, determined by modelling adsorption data, are reasonable and discuss the limitations of the proposed approach. Finally, it is concluded that apparent interfacial solubility products may be expected to change with pH and sorption density.

Key words

sorption isotherms sorption surface complexation model surface precipitation model solid solution parameter estimation 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Lützenkirchen
    • 1
  • Ph. Behra
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut de Mécanique des Fluides de l'Université Louis Pasteur, URA CNRS 854StrasbourgFrance

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