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Crystallization and nucleation study of transition metal phosphates: M-phosphate octahydrate and M-struvite

Industrial and agricultural waste streams (waste waters, sludges, tailings etc.) which contain high concentrations of NH4+, PO43- and transition metals are environmentally harmful and toxic pollutants. Typically, separate pathways have been considered to extract hazardous and transition metals or phosphate as critical raw materials, independently from each other. Here, we report the synthesis routes for transition metal phosphate (TMP) compounds (M3(PO4)2∙8H2O, NH4MPO4∙6H2O, M = Ni2+, Co2+ arupite/pakhomovsykite and Ni-/Co-struvite), which allow for P, ammonia and metal co-precipitation. The precipitation of arupite/pakhomovskyite and M-struvite from industrial waste waters could be a promising P-recovery route. Through adjusting the reaction conditions, the stability, crystallite size and morphology of the as-obtained TMP could be controlled. Detailed investigations of the precipitation process using ex- and in-situ techniques provided new insights into their non-classical crystallization mechanism/crystal engineering of these materials. These TMPs involve transitional colloidal nanophases which subsequently aggregate and condense to final crystals after extended reaction times. However, the reaction kinetics of the formation of a final crystalline product vary significantly depending on the metal cation involved in the precipitation process. Ni-struvite is stable in a wide reactant concentration range and at different metal/phosphorus (M/P)-ratios, whereas Co tends to form Co-struvite and/or Co-phosphate octahydrate depending on the (M/P)-ratio. The observed various degree of stability could be linked to the octahedral metal coordination environment. The achieved level of control over the precipitates, is highly desirable for 3d- and P-recovery methods. Under this paradigm, the crystals can be potentially upcycled as precursor materials for (electro)catalytical applications.


Stephanos Karafiludis1, Ana Guilherme Buzanich2, Franziska Emmerling1, Tomasz Maciej Stawski2
1BAM Berlin (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung), Germany;Humboldt Universität zu Berlin; 2BAM Berlin (Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung), Germany
GeoMinKöln 2022
Berlin, Germany