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Jim Entwistle

Interactions between clay minerals and chlorinated contaminants.

Interactions between clay minerals and chlorinated contaminants



Project description

Chlorinated solvents have many industrial uses. They include solvents such as tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE). They are some of the most common groundwater contaminants.

The USA’s EPA Superfund programme cleans up some of the nation’s most contaminated land. Chlorinated solvent pollution affects more than 75% of all Superfund sites. Engineered remediation systems have been developed over the past two decades. But these may not be cost effective for certain applications. Fe-bearing clay minerals are abundant in the Earth’s subsurface. We are investigating how they contribute to the natural attenuation of chlorinated solvents.

We are focusing on the interactions between Fe-bearing clay minerals and chlorinated contaminants that persist through groundwater. We are particularly interested in how reactive mineral intermediates (RMIs) form due to clay minerals interacting with aqueous species such as Fe(II) and S(-II). We will characterise the resulting RMIs using Mössbauer spectroscopy. This allows us to quantify relative amounts of Fe(II):Fe(III). We are also using X-ray diffraction techniques (XRD) to characterise the RMIs further.

This project was part-funded by the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and the School of Engineering, Newcastle University.



Music (currently learning piano whilst rediscovering my violin and viola); gaming; graphic design for science (specifically trying to understand how to convey knowledge in eye-catching ways).


  • BSc (Hons) Earth Science, University of Glasgow
  • MSc (Distinction) Hydrogeology, University of Birmingham