Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Insight To Demineralization: Amorphous Silica Dissolves By Pathway Similar To Crystals

Date:
July 9, 2008
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
Researchers explain the dissolution behavior of silica glasses manufactured by different processes, a natural biologically produced silica and a synthetic, dispersed or colloidal silica. Their findings present the basis for understanding how simple modulations in solution chemistry can tune the durability of silica in humid or wet environments. Moreover, the insights suggest a means by which one could use simple, environmentally benign solutions to regulate surface roughness at the nanoscale.

From toothpaste to technology, noncrystalline or amorphous silica is an active ingredient in a myriad of products that we use in our daily lives. As a minor, but essential component of vertebrate bone, an understanding of silica reactivity in physiological environments is crucial to the development of successful biomedical implants and synthetic materials with bone-like properties.

Related Articles


One ongoing question is why solutions of water containing simple table salt or other electrolyte compounds (as in blood plasma for example) are able to break down noncrystalline silicas at speeds far faster than expected. Rates of decomposition by processes known as dissolution, or demineralization, are up to 100 times faster when the solutions contain little dissolved silica and suggest a means for controlling the speed of removal. Yet, traditional theory would say that the durability of amorphous solids, such as silica glasses, should change by a simple proportion to the amount of silica present in the dissolving solution.

Patricia Dove, professor of geosciences in the College of Science at Virginia Tech, and postdoctoral scientists Nizhou Han and Adam Wallace report that amorphous silica can dissolve by a nucleation process that was previously only viewed as possible in crystalline materials. The result is a very large increase in the rate of removal of ions from the surface of silica, which would not be predicted by classical theory.

In collaboration with James De Yoreo at the Molecular Foundry of the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, the Virginia Tech researchers demonstrate that structural order is not a requirement for a crystal-based model to describe dissolution when the reacting silica units are defined in terms of their coordination to the surface.

"This finding would seem heretical from the viewpoint of traditional thinking because classical nucleation theory is rooted in the concept that dissolution and growth occur by overcoming a barrier to forming a new phase within an existing phase," said Dove. "Because the transfer of units from a disordered amorphous surface to solution always leaves the surface free energy unchanged, the origin of a comparable energy barrier presents a paradox that is not easy to understand."

Using experimental and theoretical analyses, the paper explains this paradox and the dissolution behavior of silica glasses manufactured by different processes, a natural biologically produced silica, and a synthetic, dispersed or colloidal silica. Their findings present the basis for understanding how simple modulations in solution chemistry can tune the durability of silica in humid or wet environments. Moreover, the insights suggest a means by which one could use simple, environmentally benign solutions to regulate surface roughness at the nanoscale. "One example would be to add texture to a substrate surface for a biomedical application," said Dove "Or another could be to use a salt solution to clean a silica surface without toxic chemical compounds."

Dove and her research group study mineral nucleation, growth, and dissolution in projects focused on understanding the processes of biomineralization, mineral weathering, cementation, global elemental cycling, and climate proxy models. Using a bioinspired approach, much of their work is focused on establishing concepts used by Nature in biological and inorganic settings to understand underlying reaction mechanisms through direct, nanoscale measurements of mineral-water interactions and their kinetic and surface thermodynamic properties. Research in Dove's group is supported by the DOE Basic Energy Sciences, the NSF EAR program in Geobiology and Environmental Geochemistry and the NSF OCE program in Chemical Oceanography. For more information, visit Biogeochemistry of Earth Processes website.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kinetics of amorphous silica dissolution and the paradox of the silica polymorphs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 7, 2008 Online Early Edition

Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "New Insight To Demineralization: Amorphous Silica Dissolves By Pathway Similar To Crystals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080707171744.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2008, July 9). New Insight To Demineralization: Amorphous Silica Dissolves By Pathway Similar To Crystals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080707171744.htm
Virginia Tech. "New Insight To Demineralization: Amorphous Silica Dissolves By Pathway Similar To Crystals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080707171744.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Flying Enthusiast Converts Real-Life Aircraft Cockpit Into Simulator

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) A virtual flying enthusiast converts parts of a written-off Airbus aircraft into a working flight simulator in his northern Slovenian home. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins