Matching Items (6)

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Sustainable Soil Improvement via Abiotic Carbon Dioxide Sequestration

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Calcium hydroxide carbonation processes were studied to investigate the potential for abiotic soil improvement. Different mixtures of common soil constituents such as sand, clay, and granite were mixed with a

Calcium hydroxide carbonation processes were studied to investigate the potential for abiotic soil improvement. Different mixtures of common soil constituents such as sand, clay, and granite were mixed with a calcium hydroxide slurry and carbonated at approximately 860 psi. While the carbonation was successful and calcite formation was strong on sample exteriors, a 4 mm passivating boundary layer effect was observed, impeding the carbonation process at the center. XRD analysis was used to characterize the extent of carbonation, indicating extremely poor carbonation and therefore CO2 penetration inside the visible boundary. The depth of the passivating layer was found to be independent of both time and choice of aggregate. Less than adequate strength was developed in carbonated trials due to formation of small, weakly-connected crystals, shown with SEM analysis. Additional research, especially in situ analysis with thermogravimetric analysis would be useful to determine the causation of poor carbonation performance. This technology has great potential to substitute for certain Portland cement applications if these issues can be addressed.

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Date Created
  • 2015-05

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Applications of enzyme induced carbonate precipitation (EICP) for soil improvement

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In enzyme induced carbonate precipitation (EICP), calcium carbonate (CaCO3) precipitation is catalyzed by plant-derived urease enzyme. In EICP, urea hydrolyzes into ammonia and inorganic carbon, altering geochemical conditions in

In enzyme induced carbonate precipitation (EICP), calcium carbonate (CaCO3) precipitation is catalyzed by plant-derived urease enzyme. In EICP, urea hydrolyzes into ammonia and inorganic carbon, altering geochemical conditions in a manner that promotes carbonate mineral precipitation. The calcium source in this process comes from calcium chloride (CaCl2) in aqueous solution. Research work conducted for this dissertation has demonstrated that EICP can be employed for a variety of geotechnical purposes, including mass soil stabilization, columnar soil stabilization, and stabilization of erodible surficial soils. The research presented herein also shows that the optimal ratio of urea to CaCl2 at ionic strengths of less than 1 molar is approximately 1.75:1. EICP solutions of very high initial ionic strength (i.e. 6 M) as well as high urea concentrations (> 2 M) resulted in enzyme precipitation (salting-out) which hindered carbonate precipitation. In addition, the production of NH4+ may also result in enzyme precipitation. However, enzyme precipitation appeared to be reversible to some extent. Mass soil stabilization was demonstrated via percolation and mix-and-compact methods using coarse silica sand (Ottawa 20-30) and medium-fine silica sand (F-60) to produce cemented soil specimens whose strength improvement correlated with CaCO3 content, independent of the method employed to prepare the specimen. Columnar stabilization, i.e. creating columns of soil cemented by carbonate precipitation, using Ottawa 20-30, F-60, and native AZ soil was demonstrated at several scales beginning with small columns (102-mm diameter) and culminating in a 1-m3 soil-filled box. Wind tunnel tests demonstrated that surficial soil stabilization equivalent to that provided by thoroughly wetting the soil can be achieved through a topically-applied solution of CaCl2, urea, and the urease enzyme. The topically applied solution was shown to form an erosion-resistant CaCO3 crust on fine sand and silty soils. Cementation of erodible surficial soils was also achieved via EICP by including a biodegradable hydrogel in the stabilization solution. A dilute hydrogel solution extended the time frame over which the precipitation reaction could occur and provided improved spatial control of the EICP solution.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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Models for amorphous calcium carbonate

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Many species e.g. sea urchin form amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC) precursor phases that subsequently transform into crystalline CaCO3. It is certainly possible that the biogenic ACC might have more than

Many species e.g. sea urchin form amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC) precursor phases that subsequently transform into crystalline CaCO3. It is certainly possible that the biogenic ACC might have more than 10 wt% Mg and ∼ 3 wt% of water. The structure of ACC and the mechanisms by which it transforms to crystalline phase are still poorly understood. In this dissertation our goal is to determine an atomic structure model that is consistent with diffraction and IR measurements of ACC. For this purpose a calcite supercell with 24 formula units, containing 120 atoms, was constructed. Various configurations with substitution of Ca by 6 Mg ions (6 wt.%) and insertion of 3-5 H2O molecules (2.25-3.75 wt.%) in the interstitial positions of the supercell, were relaxed using a robust density function code VASP. The most noticeable effects were the tilts of CO3 groups and the distortion of Ca sub-lattice, especially in the hydrated case. The distributions of Ca-Ca nearest neighbor distance and CO3 tilts were extracted from various configurations. The same methods were also applied to aragonite. Sampling from the calculated distortion distributions, we built models for amorphous calcite/aragonite of size ∼ 1700 nm3 based on a multi-scale modeling scheme. We used these models to generate diffraction patterns and profiles with our diffraction code. We found that the induced distortions were not enough to generate a diffraction profile typical of an amorphous material. We then studied the diffraction profiles from several nano-crystallites as recent studies suggest that ACC might be a random array of nanocryatallites. It was found that the generated diffraction profile from a nano-crystallite of size ∼ 2 nm3 is similar to that from the ACC.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Enzyme-induced carbonate precipitation for the mitigation of fugitive dust

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ABSTRACT Enzyme-Induced Carbonate Precipitation (EICP) using a plant-derived form of the urease enzyme to induce the precipitation of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) shows promise as a method of stabilizing soil for

ABSTRACT Enzyme-Induced Carbonate Precipitation (EICP) using a plant-derived form of the urease enzyme to induce the precipitation of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) shows promise as a method of stabilizing soil for the mitigation of fugitive dust. Fugitive dust is a significant problem in Arizona, particularly in Maricopa County. Maricopa County is an EPA air quality non-attainment zone, due primarily to fugitive dust, which presents a significant health risk to local residents. Conventional methods for fugitive dust control, including the application of water, are either ineffective in arid climates, very expensive, or limited to short term stabilization. Due to these limitations, engineers are searching for new and more effective ways to stabilize the soil and reduce wind erosion. EICP employs urea hydrolysis, a process in which carbonate precipitation is catalyzed by the urease enzyme, a widely occurring protein found in many plants and microorganisms. Wind tunnel experiments were conducted in the ASU/NASA Planetary Wind Tunnel to evaluate the use of EICP as a means to stabilize soil against fugitive dust emission. Three different soils were tested, including a native Arizona silty-sand, a uniform fine to medium grained silica sand, and mine tailings from a mine in southern Arizona. The test soil was loosely placed in specimen container and the surface was sprayed with an aqueous solution containing urea, calcium chloride, and urease enzyme. After a short period of time to allow for CaCO3 precipitation, the specimens were tested in the wind tunnel. The completed tests show that EICP can increase the detachment velocity compared to bare or wetted soil and thus holds promise as a means of mitigating fugitive dust emissions.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Growing rocks: the effects of calcium carbonate deposition on phosphorus availability in streams

Description

Humans have dramatically increased phosphorus (P) availability in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. As P is often a limiting nutrient of primary production, changes in its availability can have dramatic effects

Humans have dramatically increased phosphorus (P) availability in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. As P is often a limiting nutrient of primary production, changes in its availability can have dramatic effects on ecosystem processes. I examined the effects of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) deposition, which can lower P concentrations via coprecipitation of phosphate, on P availability in two systems: streams in the Huachuca Mountains, Arizona, and a stream, Río Mesquites, in Cuatro Ciénegas, México. Calcium carbonate forms as travertine in the former and within the microbialites of the latter. Despite these differences, CaCO3 deposition led to lowered P availability in both systems. By analyzing a three-year dataset of water chemistry from the Huachuca Mountain streams, I determined that P concentrations were negatively related to CaCO3 deposition rates. I also discovered that CaCO3 was positively correlated with nitrogen concentrations, suggesting that the stoichiometric effect of CaCO3 deposition on nutrient availability is due not only to coprecipitation of phosphate, but also to P-related constraints on biotic nitrogen uptake. Building from these observations, bioassays of nutrient limitation of periphyton growth suggest that P limitation is more prevalent in streams with active CaCO3 deposition than those without. Furthermore, when I experimentally reduced rates of CaCO3 deposition within one of the streams by partial light-exclusion, areal P uptake lengths decreased, periphyton P content and growth increased, and periphyton nutrient limitation by P decreased. In Río Mesquites, CaCO3 deposition was also associated with P limitation of microbial growth. There, I investigated the consequences of reductions in CaCO3 deposition with several methods. Calcium removal led to increased concentrations of P in the microbial biomass while light reductions decreased microbial biomass and chemical inhibition had no effect. These results suggest that CaCO3 deposition in microbialites does limit biological uptake of P, that photoautotrophs play an important role in nutrient acquisition, and, combined with other experimental observations, that sulfate reduction may support CaCO3 deposition in the microbialite communities of Río Mesquites. Overall, my results suggest that the effects of CaCO3 deposition on P availability are general and this process should be considered when managing nutrient flows across aquatic ecosystems.

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  • 2015

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Examining the limitations of 238U/235U in marine carbonates as a paleoredox proxy

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Variations of 238U/235U in sedimentary carbonate rocks are being explored as a tool for reconstructing oceanic anoxia through time. However, the fidelity of this novel paleoredox proxy relies on characterization

Variations of 238U/235U in sedimentary carbonate rocks are being explored as a tool for reconstructing oceanic anoxia through time. However, the fidelity of this novel paleoredox proxy relies on characterization of uranium isotope geochemistry via laboratory experimental studies and field work in modern analog environmental settings. This dissertation systematically examines the fidelity of 238U/235U in sedimentary carbonate rocks as a paleoredox proxy focusing on the following issues: (1) U isotope fractionation during U incorporation into primary abiotic and biogenic calcium carbonates; (2) diagenetic effects on U isotope fractionation in modern shallow-water carbonate sediments; (3) the effects of anoxic depositional environments on 238U/235U in carbonate sediments.

Variable and positive shifts of 238U/235U were observed during U uptake by primary abiotic and biotic calcium carbonates, carbonate diagenesis, and anoxic deposition of carbonates. Previous CaCO3 coprecipitation experiments demonstrated a small but measurable U isotope fractionation of ~0.10 ‰ during U(VI) incorporation into abiotic calcium carbonates, with 238U preferentially incorporated into the precipitates (Chen et al., 2016). The magnitude of U isotope fractionation depended on aqueous U speciation, which is controlled by water chemistry, including pH, ionic strength, carbonate, and Ca2+ and Mg2+ concentrations. Based on this speciation-dependent isotope fractionation model, the estimated U isotope fractionation in abiotic calcium carbonates induced by secular changes in seawater chemistry through the Phanerozoic was predicted to be 0.11–0.23 ‰. A smaller and variable U isotope fractionation (0–0.09 ‰) was observed in primary biogenic calcium carbonates, which fractionated U isotopes in the same direction as abiotic calcium carbonates. Early diagenesis of modern shallow-water carbonate sediments from the Bahamas shifted δ238U values to be 0.270.14 ‰ (1 SD) higher than contemporaneous seawater. Also, carbonate sediments deposited under anoxic conditions in a redox-stratified lake—Fayetteville Green Lake, New York, USA— exhibited elevated δ238U values by 0.160.12 ‰ (1 SD) relative to surface water carbonates with significant enrichments in U.

The significant U isotope fractionation observed in these studies suggests the need to correct for the U isotopic offset between carbonate sediments and coeval seawater when using δ238U variations in ancient carbonate rocks to reconstruct changes in ocean anoxia. The U isotope fractionation in abiotic and biogenic primary carbonate precipitates, during carbonate diagenesis, and under anoxic depositional environments provide a preliminary guideline to calibrate 238U/235U in sedimentary carbonate rocks as a paleoredox proxy.

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Date Created
  • 2018