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The thermal decomposition of hydronium jarosite and ammoniojarosite

Akademiai Kiado Rt.
Publication Date
  • 030606 Structural Chemistry And Spectroscopy
  • Hydronium Jarosite
  • Ammoniojarosite
  • Thermal Decomposition
  • Iron(Iii) Reduction
  • Earth Science
  • Physics


The thermal decomposition of hydronium jarosite and ammoniojarosite was studied using thermogravimetric analysis and mass spectrometry, in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction and infrared emission spectroscopy. There was no evidence for the simultaneous loss of water and sulfur dioxide during the desulfonation stage as has previously been reported for hydronium jarosite. Conversely, all hydrogen atoms are lost during the dehydration and dehydroxylation stage from 270 to 400 °C and no water, hydroxyl groups or hydronium ions persist after 400 °C. The same can be said for ammoniojarosite. The first mass loss step during the decomposition of hydronium jarosite has been assigned to the loss of the hydronium ion via protonation of the surrounding hydroxyl groups to evolve two water molecules. For ammoniojarosite, this step corresponds to the protonation of a hydroxyl group by ammonium, so that ammonia and water are liberated simultaneously. Iron(II) sulfate was identified as a possible intermediate during the decomposition of ammoniojarosite (421–521 °C) due to a redox reaction between iron(III) and the liberated ammonia during decomposition. Iron(II) ions were also confirmed with the 1,10-phenanthroline test. Iron(III) sulfate and other commonly suggested intermediates for hydronium and ammoniojarosite decomposition are not major crystalline phases; if they are formed, then they most likely exist as an amorphous phase or a different low temperature phases than usual.

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