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Issue 23, 2021
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X-ray scattering reveals ion clustering of dilute chromium species in molten chloride medium

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Abstract

Enhancing the solar energy storage and power delivery afforded by emerging molten salt-based technologies requires a fundamental understanding of the complex interplay between structure and dynamics of the ions in the high-temperature media. Here we report results from a comprehensive study integrating synchrotron X-ray scattering experiments, ab initio molecular dynamics simulations and rate theory concepts to investigate the behavior of dilute Cr3+ metal ions in a molten KCl–MgCl2 salt. Our analysis of experimental results assisted by a hybrid transition state-Marcus theory model reveals unexpected clustering of chromium species leading to the formation of persistent octahedral Cr–Cr dimers in the high-temperature low Cr3+ concentration melt. Furthermore, our integrated approach shows that dynamical processes in the molten salt system are primarily governed by the charge density of the constituent ions, with Cr3+ exhibiting the slowest short-time dynamics. These findings challenge several assumptions regarding specific ionic interactions and transport in molten salts, where aggregation of dilute species is not statistically expected, particularly at high temperature.

Graphical abstract: X-ray scattering reveals ion clustering of dilute chromium species in molten chloride medium

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
01 Mar 2021
Accepted
26 Apr 2021
First published
19 May 2021

This article is Open Access
All publication charges for this article have been paid for by the Royal Society of Chemistry

Chem. Sci., 2021,12, 8026-8035
Article type
Edge Article

X-ray scattering reveals ion clustering of dilute chromium species in molten chloride medium

S. Roy, S. Sharma, W. V. Karunaratne, F. Wu, R. Gakhar, D. S. Maltsev, P. Halstenberg, M. Abeykoon, S. K. Gill, Y. Zhang, S. M. Mahurin, S. Dai, V. S. Bryantsev, C. J. Margulis and A. S. Ivanov, Chem. Sci., 2021, 12, 8026 DOI: 10.1039/D1SC01224J

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

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