Monte Carlo and Molecular Dynamics Simulation of Uranyl Adsorption on Montmorillonite Clay
Abstract: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.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: August 1, 2003
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