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Issue 1, 2007
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Compositional analysis of copper–silica precipitation tubes

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Abstract

Silica gardens consist of hollow tubular structures that form from salt crystals seeded into silicate solution. We investigate the structure and elemental composition of these tubes in the context of a recently developed experimental model that allows quantitative analyses based on predetermined reactant concentrations and flow rates. In these experiments, cupric sulfate solution is injected into large volumes of waterglass. The walls of the resulting tubular structures have a typical width of 10 µm and are gradient materials. Micro-Raman spectroscopy along with energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence data identify amorphous silica and copper(II) hydroxide as the main compounds within the inner and outer tube surfaces, respectively. Upon heating the blueish precipitates to approximately 150 °C, the material turns black as copper(II) hydroxide decomposes to copper(II) oxide. Moreover, we present high resolution transmission electron micrographs that reveal polycrystalline morphologies.

Graphical abstract: Compositional analysis of copper–silica precipitation tubes

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Article information


Submitted
08 Sep 2006
Accepted
11 Oct 2006
First published
06 Nov 2006

Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2007,9, 110-116
Article type
Paper

Compositional analysis of copper–silica precipitation tubes

J. J. Pagano, S. Thouvenel-Romans and O. Steinbock, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2007, 9, 110
DOI: 10.1039/B612982J

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