What is it about?

An innovative experimental approach is used to monitor the chemical destruction of a glass while the reaction is taking place ('in operando'), while delivering insightful chemical and structural information in time and space. This µm-scale experiment allows for a better basic mechanistic understanding of how such 'alteration' or 'weathering' reactions proceed in engineered and natural environments.

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Why is it important?

Alteration (or weathering) reactions are very common and important process in nature, where they affect carbon and nutrient cycling and acidity, but also in engineered environment, such as nuclear waste storage or carbon sequestration techniques, where they determine process rates and stability. The scientific community is still far from a predictive understanding of such processes, mainly due to the complexity of feedbacks and non-linear response of all involved mechanisms. Our observations and interpretations might help to improve this understanding.

Perspectives

It was a pleasure to work with such an impressive setup within such an experienced and competent group. The methodology could guide future studies that would aim for a similar type of in operando observations, while the observations we made ourselves provide valuable insights about process dynamics.

Gerrit Müller
Universiteit Utrecht

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This page is a summary of: Feedbacks and non-linearity of silicate glass alteration in hyperalkaline solution studied by in operando fluid-cell Raman spectroscopy, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, July 2022, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2022.05.013.
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