Adsorption of gluconate and uranyl on C-S-H phases: Combination of wet chemistry experiments and molecular dynamics simulations for the binary systems
As a first step in developing better molecular scale understanding of the effects of organic additives on the adsorption and mobility of radionuclides in cement under conditions of geological nuclear waste repositories, two complementary approaches, wet chemistry experiments and molecular dynamics (MD) computer simulations, were applied to study the sorption behaviour of two simple model systems: gluconate and uranyl on calcium silicate hydrate phases (C-S-H) - the principal mineral component of hardened cement paste (HCP). Experimental data on sorption and desorption kinetics and isotherms of adsorption for gluconate/C-S-H and U(VI)/C-S-H binary systems were collected and quantitatively analysed for C-S-H samples synthesised with various Ca/Si ratios (0.83, 1.0, 1.4) corresponding to various stages of HCP aging and degradation. Gluconate labelled with 14C isotope was used in order to improve the sensitivity of analytical detection technique (LSC) at particularly low concentrations (10(-8) -10(-5) Â mol/L). There is a noticeable effect of Ca/Si ratio on the gluconate sorption on C-S-H, with stronger sorption at higher Ca/Si ratios. Sorption of organic anions on C-S-H is mediated by the presence of Ca(2+) at the interface and strongly depends on the surface charge and Ca(2+) concentration. In parallel, classical MD simulations of the same model systems were performed in order to identify specific surface sorption sites most actively involved in the sorption of gluconate and uranyl on C-S-H and to clarify molecular mechanisms of adsorption.