Applicability of surface area normalised distribution coefficients (Ka) for uranium sorption

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Adsorption of radionuclides on soils and sediments is commonly quantified by distribution coefficients (Kd values). This paper examines the relationship between Kd values for uranium(VI) adsorption and the specific surface area (SSA) of geologic materials. We then investigate the potential applicability of normalising uranium (U) Kd measurements using the SSA, to produce ‘Ka values’ as a generic expression of the affinity of U for the surface. The data for U provide a reasonably coherent set of Ka values on various solid phases, both with and without ligands. The Ka representation provides a way of harmonising datasets obtained for materials having different specific surface areas, and accounting for the effects of ligands in different systems. In addition, this representation may assist in developing U sorption models for complex materials. However, a significant limitation of the Ka concept is that sorption of radionuclides at trace levels can be dominated by interactions with specific surface sites, whose abundances are not reflected by the SSA. Therefore, calculated Ka values should be interpreted cautiously. © 2011, Elsevier
Uranium, Sorption, Surface area, Radioisotopes, Adsorption, Ligands
Payne, T. E., Vinzenz, B., Nebelung, C., Comarmond, M. J. (2011). Assessment of surface area normalisation for interpreting distribution coefficients (Kd) for uranium sorption. South Pacific Environmental Radioactivity Association: 2008 conference, 23th-27th November 2008, Christchurch, New Zealand. In Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 102(10), 888-895.