Structure and thermodynamic stability of UTa3O10, a U(V)-bearing compound
Heating a mixture of uranyl(VI) nitrate and tantalum(V) oxide in the molar ratio of 2 : 3 to 1400 °C resulted in the formation of a new compound, UTa3O10. The honey colored to yellow brown crystals of UTa3O10 crystallize in an orthorhombic structure with the space group Fddd (no. 70), lattice parameters a = 7.3947(1), b = 12.7599(2), c = 15.8156(2) Å, and Z = 8. Vertex sharing [TaO6]7− octahedra of two crystallographically distinct Ta cations form a three dimensional tantalate framework. Within this framework, six membered rings of [TaO6]7− octahedra are formed within the (001) plane. The center of these rings is occupied by the uranyl cations [UO2]+, with an oxidation state of +5 for uranium. The pentavalence of U and Ta was confirmed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and X-ray adsorption spectroscopy. The enthalpy of formation of UTa3O10 from Ta2O5, β-U3O7, and U3O8 has been determined to be 13.1 ± 18.1 kJ mol−1 using high temperature oxide melt solution calorimetry with sodium molybdate as the solvent at 700 °C. The close to zero enthalpy of formation of UTa3O10 can be explained by closely balanced structural stabilizing and destabilizing factors, which may also apply to other UM3O10 compounds.