Colleagues at the University of Hohenheim in Germany, led by Ms. Katharina Lenhardt and Prof. Thilo Rennert, research the activity of minerals found in different types of soils. An important class of such substances is short-range ordered aluminosilicates (SROAS). They are found in soil as the product of, e.g., volcanic activity and weathering of rocks leading to their deposits from flowing water. Chemical reactivity occurs at the surface of a material, and reproducing the surface structure is, therefore, essential to reproduce the properties of naturally occurring materials. However, directly using naturally occurring SROAS makes detailed quantitative investigations nearly impossible due to poorly characterized samples.
Our colleagues at the University of Hohenheim synthesized and processed a number of different SROAS, which required advanced characterization to determine their properties and similarities with naturally occurring material. BIMat contributed transmission electron microscopy characterization of these samples so that their morphology could be understood and related to their surface-based reactivity. The result was a deeper understanding and recommendations for future directions in the synthesis of such materials.
The results are published in Scientific Reports as “Synthesis of short‑range ordered aluminosilicates at ambient conditions”.