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Harry Brooksbank

Investigating iron-bearing clay mineral redox reactions.

Project title

Investigating the sustainability of Fe-bearing clay mineral redox reactions


Project description

Fluctuating reduction-oxidation (redox) conditions alter the structure and reactivity of iron-bearing clay minerals.

Clay minerals are common in the environment, and can contain varying quantities of structural iron (Fe). Structural Fe in clay minerals can be reduced. Clay minerals have long been thought of as renewable reduction equivalents in the environment. This is because of their comparative resistance to reductive dissolution. Clay minerals can be irreversibly altered by these fluctuating chemical conditions. In this project, we will develop an understanding of how this happens.

We are cycling the oxidation state of structural Fe. We are using multiple reduction pathways analogous to those found in the environment.

We are using nitroaromatic compounds as model contaminants. Using these, we will measure reductive degradation of the compounds by clay minerals. This will allow us to model mineral reactivity. We will also measure structural and mineralogical changes due to redox cycling. We will use various analytical and spectroscopic techniques.



  • MSci Geoscience (Environmental), Durham University