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A transmission x-ray microscopy and NEXAFS approach for studying corroded silicate glasses at the nanometre scale

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In this study transmission x-ray microscopy (TXM) was tested as a method to investigate the chemistry and structure of corroded silicate glasses at the nanometre scale. Three different silicate glasses were altered in static corrosion experiments for 1–336 h at temperatures between 60 and 85°C using a 25% HCl solution. Thin lamellas were cut perpendicular to the surface of corroded glass monoliths and were analysed with conventional TEM as well as with TXM. By recording optical density profiles at photon energies around the Na and O K-edges, the shape of the corrosion rim/pristine glass interfaces and the thickness of the corrosion rims has been determined. Na and O near-edge x-ray absorption fine structure spectra (NEXAFS) were obtained without inducing irradiation damage and have been used to detect chemical changes in the corrosion rims. Spatially resolved NEXAFS spectra at the O K-edge provided insight to structural changes in the corrosion layer on the atomic scale. By comparison to O K-edge spectra of silicate minerals and (hydrous) albite glass as well as to O K-edge NEXAFS of model structures simulated with ab initio calculations, evidence is provided that changes of the fine structure at the O K-edge are assigned to the formation of siloxane groups in the corrosion rim.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2018

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