Short-Term Fe Cycling during Fe(II) Oxidation: Exploring Joint Oxidation and Precipitation with a Combinatorial System

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The net oxidation of Fe(II)aq by dioxygen initiates a suite of reactions including the oxidation of multiple Fe(II) complexes, generation of secondary oxidants, Fe(III) reduction, and precipitation of insoluble products. This work reports application of a multifactorial strategy to describe the oxidation of Fe(II) under conditions that correspond to those found where Fe(II)-rich groundwaters mix rapidly with overlying oxygenated waters. Response surfaces were constructed describing the relationship of the net oxidation process with mixtures of the common ligands chloride (Cl−), bromide (Br−), total carbonate (CO32−), Fe(II), and Suwannee River natural organic matter (SRNOM) at pH 8.00. Response surfaces were generated in the presence and absence of added phosphate, representing conditional end members corresponding to geographical locations where Fe(III) precipitation is respectively forced and unconstrained. Comparison of net Fe(II) oxidation rates in the presence and absence of phosphate then enabled resolution of the relative contributions of Fe(II) oxidation and Fe(III) reduction to the overall process. The differences between the two surfaces demonstrated the importance of Fe(II) regeneration on the rapid (min) time scale during net oxidation. The minimum Fe(II) concentration necessary to initiate measurable cycling is reported. The presence of reactive oxygen species was evaluated through the use of probes added to the center point condition of the experimental matrix. Analysis of the statistical significance of the Fe(II)−factor relationships demonstrated that over the conditional scale of the experiments complexation of Fe(II) by the selected ligands did not correlate to the experimental outcome.