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Monte Carlo and Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Uranyl Adsorption on Montmorillonite Clay

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We performed Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations to investigate the interlayer structure of a uranyl-substituted smectite clay. Our clay model is a dioctahedral montmorillonite with negative charge sites in the octahedral sheet only. We simulated a wide range of interlayer water content (0 mg H2O/g clay - 260 mg H2O/g clay), but we were particularly interested in the two-layer hydrate that has been the focus of recent X-ray absorption experiments. Our simulation results for the two-layer hydrate of uranyl-montmorillonite yield a water content of 160 mg H2O/g clay and a layer spacing of 14.66 Å. Except at extremely low water content, uranyl cations are oriented nearly parallel to the surface normal in an outer-sphere complex. The first coordination shell consists of five water molecules with an average U -O distance of 2.45 Å, in good agreement with experimental data. At low water content, the cations can assume a perpendicular orientation to include surface oxygen atoms in the first coordination shell. Our molecular dynamics results show that UO2(H2O)2+5 complexes translate within the clay pore through a jump diffusion process, and that first-shell water molecules are exchangeable and interchangeable.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-08-01

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  • The JOURNAL publishes articles of interest to the international community of clay scientists, including but not limited to areas in mineralogy, crystallography, geology, geochemistry, sedimentology, soil science, agronomy, physical chemistry, colloid chemistry, ceramics, petroleum engineering, foundry engineering, and soil mechanics. Clays and Clay Minerals exists to disseminate to its worldwide readership the most recent developments in all of these aspects of clay materials. Manuscripts are welcome from all countries.

    Clays and Clay Minerals is the official publication of The Clay Minerals Society.

    The Editor-in-Chief is Professor Joseph W. Stucki [email protected]

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