Formation and stability of Pb-, Zn-& Cu-PO 4 phases at low temperatures

Implications for heavy metal fixation in polar environments

Duanne A. White*, Erla G. Hafsteinsdóttir, Damian B. Gore, Gordon Thorogood, Scott C. Stark

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Low temperatures and frequent soil freeze-thaw in polar environments present challenges for the immobilisation of metals. To address these challenges we investigated the chemical forms of Pb, Zn and Cu in an Antarctic landfill, examined in vitro reaction kinetics of these metals and orthophosphate at 2 and 22 °C for up to 185 days, and subjected the products to freeze-thaw. Reaction products at both temperatures were similar, but the rate of production varied, with Cu-PO 4 phases forming faster, and the Zn- and Pb-PO 4 phases slower at 2 °C. All metal-orthophosphate phases produced were stable during a 2.5 h freeze-thaw cycle to -30 °C. Metal immobilisation using orthophosphate can be successful in polar regions, but treatments will need to consider differing mineral stabilities and reaction rates at low temperatures.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)143-153
    Number of pages11
    JournalEnvironmental Pollution
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

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