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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 55 No. 6, p. 1569-1576
    Received: Dec 10, 1990
    Published: Nov, 1991

    * Corresponding author(s):


Cesium-Adsorption Method for Measuring Accessible Structural Surface Charge

  1. Sharon J. Anderson  and
  2. Garrison Sposito
  1. Dep. of Crop and Soil Sciences, Michigan State Univ., East Lansing, MI 48824-1325
    Dep. of Soil Science, Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 94720



Measurements of the separate contributions of structural and pH-dependent charge are essential to understanding and predicting surface-chemical reactions in soils and other heterogeneous adsorbents that contain a mixture of surface functional groups. An ion-adsorption method was developed to measure the accessible structural charge density0) in adsorbents that comprise both structural-charge and variable-charge surface functional groups. The method is based on the preference of siloxane surface sites for Cs+ over Li+ and on the much lower selectivity of ionizable surface groups for Cs+. To estimate σ0, CsCl-saturated adsorbents were reacted with 0.05 mol CsCl kg−1 at pH 7, washed with ethanol to reduce the entrained CsCl concentration, dried at 65 °C to promote the formation of inner-sphere surface complexes between Cs+ and permanent-charge sites, and then extracted with 0.01 mol LiCl kg−1 to displace Cs+ from variable-charge adsorption sites, which exhibit little or no preference for Cs+ over Li+. Finally, Cs+ was displaced from permanent-charge sites by repeated NH4OAc extraction until no Cs was present in the equilibrium supernatant solution. According to this method, σ0 represented about 85 and 70% of the accessible cation-adsorption sites at pH 7 on <2-µm Wyoming montmorillonite and <106-µm Silver Hill illite, respectively; 15% and 30%, respectively, were variable-charge sites. These results were consistent with published reports of the amount of pH-dependent cation adsorption on montmorillonite and with model calculations of the relative contributions of edge and structural charge in montmorillonite and illite. When the method was used to measure Cs-accessible σ0 in four soils, the percentage of structural charge ranged from 1% in an Oxisol to 65% in an Alfisol. The method is appropriate for adsorbents that contain montmorillonite, illite, and repotassified (nonexpandable) vermiculite. It may be suitable for adsorbents that contain clay-sized, but probably not coarse-grained, expandable vermiculite.

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