Determination of the H2O content in minerals, especially zeolites, from their refractive indices based on mean electronic polarizabilities of cations
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Determination of the H2O content in minerals, especially zeolites, from their refractive indices based on mean electronic polarizabilities of cations

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  • Journal Title:
    European Journal of Mineralogy
  • Description:
    It is shown here that the H2O content of hydrous minerals can be determined from their mean refractive indices with high accuracy. This is especially important when only small single crystals are available. Such small crystals are generally not suitable for thermal analyses or for other reliable methods of measuring the amount of H2O. In order to determine the contribution of the H2O molecules to the optical properties, the total electronic polarizability is calculated from the anhydrous part of the chemical composition using the additivity rule for individual electronic polarizabilities of cations and anions. This anhydrous contribution is then compared with the total observed electronic polarizability calculated from the mean refractive index of the hydrous compound using the Anderson–Eggleton relationship. The difference between the two values represents the contribution of H2O. The amount can be derived by solving the equation αcalc=∑iniαicat+∑jαjo×10-NjVm1.2×nj+nW1.2+nw×αW for the number nw of H2O molecules per formula unit (pfu), with the electronic polarizabilities αcat for cations, the values N and αo describing the anion polarizabilities, the number n of cations and anions, and the molar volume Vm, using a value of αW=1.62 Å3 for the electronic polarizability of H2O. The equation is solved numerically, yielding the number nw of H2O molecules per formula unit. The results are compared with the observed H2O content evaluating 157 zeolite-type compounds and 770 non-zeolitic hydrous compounds, showing good agreement. This agreement is expressed by a factor relating the calculated to the observed numbers being close to 1 for the majority of compounds. Zeolites with occluded anionic or neutral species (SO3, SO4, CO2, or CO3) show unusually high deviations between the calculated and observed amount of H2O, indicating that the polarizabilities of these species should be treated differently in zeolites and zeolite-type compounds.
  • Source:
    European Journal of Mineralogy, 32(1), 27-40
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    CC BY
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