5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik
Mineral sequestration of CO2 by reaction with alkaline residues
- With the onset of industrialization within the last 150 years, a significant increase in the concentration of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) is recorded in the atmosphere. According to current scientific understanding the rising atmospheric CO2 levels can be linked with high probability to the observed phenomenon of global warming. Consequently, the reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions has become a global challenge of environmental research and policy.
In this thesis, a novel approach to achieve a long-term mineral sequestration of CO2 was studied, using alkaline residue materials. This study examined for the first time a process that allows for rapid removal of CO2 from flue gas through reaction with lignite fly ashes in aqueous solution.
In this process the basicity of the residues is utilized for mineral trapping of CO2 by precipitating stable calcite. Lignite fly ashes are a cheap, inexpensive, highly reactive byproduct of coal combustion. Due to the exposure to heat, these waste streams generally contain high amounts of reactive Ca/Mg (hydr)oxides and thus offer a high alkalinity. The alkaline residues were therefore not considered as an environmental problem, but rather as useful reactants for technical CO2 neutralization in the context of combustion processes.
Carbonates are end-products of weathering processes at the earth surface and mineral carbonation is thus assessed to be a permanent and safe storage option of CO2. Compared to alternative forms of carbon storage (e.g. the injection into gas reservoirs) cost-intensive monitoring programs for safety reasons can be omitted. Also, the carbonation generally leads to heavy metal fixation in the residues, allowing for an environmentally less problematic disposal of the products or even their industrial re-use (e.g. road construction, cement industry). Due to the common high reactivity of alkaline fly ashes no pre-treatment (e.g. grinding, using chemical additives) is needed compared to the use of natural silicate minerals as feedstock material. For these reasons mineral carbonation of alkaline residues can be considered as a process with low costs and low energy consumption, thus making it an interesting CO2 reduction pathway from an economical point of view.
In Chapter 1, the mechanisms and rates of reactions between alkaline lignite fly ash and CO2 in aqueous suspensions were evaluated. Aqueous laboratory experiments showed that CO2 from flue gas can be bound directly as carbonate. Additionally, solutions with high dissolved inorganic carbon content are formed, which can be injected into aquifers for mineral CO2 sequestration. As the dissolution rates of the alkaline mineral phases are high, gas phase CO2 transfer into the aqueous phase is mostly the limiting factor for the overall carbonation process. CO2 dissolution is controlled by the solution pH, by the available surface area of the gas/water interface and by the gradient at that interface.
The maximum conversion of 5.2 moles of CO2 per kg fly ash (≈ 0.23 kg kg-1) obtained at 75 °C demonstrates the high potential of alkaline fly ashes to sequester CO2. This value accounts for a CO2 sequestration capacity of nearly 3.5 million t of CO2 in Germany alone based on the available lignite fly ash, which corresponds to 2 percents of the CO2 emissions from lignite power combustion (168 million t a-1 in 2009).
In Chapter 2, laboratory carbonation experiments are described, which were carried out with the individual mineral phases CaO and MgO in aqueous solution. The process showed parallels with the reactions observed during carbonation of lignite fly ashes, suggesting that Ca and Mg (hydr)oxides can be used as proxies to estimate alkaline waste reaction with CO2 in general.
The carbonation of CaO happens fast, occurs at high pH values > 12 and is controlled at the mineral surface by the dissolution of Ca(OH)2. As long as Ca(OH)2 is available CO2 uptake by the system is high and leads to the simultaneous precipitation of calcite (CaCO3). Under similar conditions MgO carbonation is a slower and much more complex process. In the presence of MgO an initial pH of ~ 10.8, indicating solubility equilibrium, was reached. Subsequently, TDIC concentrations and EC increased almost linearly. The pool of MgO based alkalinity can be made available for mineral trapping if the kinetic restrictions for precipitation of Mg-carbonate can be overcome, e. g. by running the processes at higher temperature (> 50 °C) and higher s/l-ratio. Corresponding to related work the precipitation of hydromagnesite (Mg5(CO3)4 (OH)2 ∙ 4H2O) is found for temperatures above 50 ° C already at a suspended amount of 4 g L-1. Precipitation of nesquehonite (MgCO3 ∙ 3H2O)) starts upon a suspended amount of MgO of more than 10 g L-1 at 25 ° C.
In Chapter 3 the setup and the results of a model are shown, which was used to simulate and evaluate the process of alkaline material carbonation over time. Experimentally derived specific dissolution rates for CaO/MgO and CO2 are used for the development of a kinetic geochemical model based on the freely available PHREEQC algorithm. The software offers the access to databases, which containing thermodynamic constants of all common dissolved species in natural and industrial processes.
Experimental assays conducted in an aqueous carbonation reactor (see Chapter 1 and 2) were used as reference to test the model and evaluate its robustness and sensitivity.
The reaction course of the experiments based on the use of the pure phases (CaO and MgO) was successfully reproduced by our simulations. The developed model may thus be used as a valuable tool for the optimization of technical scenarios/facilities for CO2 sequestration. In order to study different mineral sequestration scenarios for calcite precipitation, we used the simulation to test the variation of process parameters and the addition of chemical additives (CaCl2, CaSO4). Finally, the simulation of the carbonation of lignite fly ash was tested using our simplified model based on CaO, MgO, calcite, anhydrite as kinetic reactants. It was shown that advanced techniques to determine the exact mineralogy of combustion residues and the extension of the availability of thermodynamic data of specific mineral phases are necessary to improve geochemical modelling in future work.
In Chapter 4, the potential contribution of lignite fly ash to mineral CO2 trapping in a high anhydrite (CaSO4) containing aquifer were analyzed. The study examined the possibility of combining underground CO2 storage and geothermal heat/energy production from an anhydrite rich aquifer. In such a scenario Ca2+ for the precipitation of calcite could be provided from the dissolution of the calcium sulfate. The dissolution of anhydrite concurrently releases acid, being counterproductive with respect to the formation of carbonates. The possibility of pH buffering by the addition of alkaline lignite fly ash is therefore appraised to optimize the conditions of carbonate precipitation.
The performed laboratory experiments, as basis for thermodynamic simulations with PHREEC, confirmed that the buffering capacity derived from the fly ashes is essential for calcite precipitation in such a system. Already with an addition of 0.1 weight percent of fly ash per volume of the injection solution the amount of precipitated calcite was maximized. The dissolution of anhydrite is associated with a concurrent increase in pore space and can balance the porespace reduction by precipitation of carbonates and secondary silicates in the geothermal reservoir.
Budget and fluxes of nitrogen in mountainous agroecosystems in a summer monsoonal climate under intensive land use
- A balanced nitrogen (N) cycle in intensively managed ecosystems is necessary as it underpins other ecosystem services. This study evaluated the agricultural practices in a typical mountainous catchment in South Korea in respect to N dynamics and their potential effect on water quality with the aim to develop options for a more sustainable catchment management.
In the 1st study, we used two approaches to calculate N budgets for the 5 key crops of the basin at the field scale. The gross and net N budgets for all crop types were found to be positive. Based on the small differences between the results of the two approaches we identified fertilizer N as well as soil Nmin as the dominant N input sources. As fertilizer N application was the major N input source (>50%), its reduction is the major scope of action for N savings at the field scale. A closely linked action is the synchronization of fertilizer N with soil Nmin. The large amount of fertilizer that is applied prior to planting (>60%) at the beginning of the monsoon season revealed that split applications could help reducing the fertilizer N additions and increase the low N use efficiencies (NUE). Based on the significant differences between gross and net N surplus for rice and bean fields, we identified the high amount of plant residues remaining after harvesting (>100 kg N ha-1) as a further factor for potential N savings. The 5 main crops accounted for over 80% of the total catchment N surplus (>400 Mg), even though their contribution to the area was only around 20%. A land use shift to perennial crops with lower N inputs was therefore found to be a possible but spatially limited chance to reduce N surpluses at the catchment scale. The comparison of catchment N surplus with stream N export revealed that 73-86% of the agricultural N surpluses were transported to water bodies in the catchment by either leaching or surface runoff.
In the 2nd study, we followed the fate of fertilizer N in a ridge and furrow (R/F) cultivation with polyethylene (PE) mulch by using 15N tracer. N leaching was simulated with Hydrus 2D. The comparison of 4 N fertilization levels (0, 150, 250 and 350 kg N ha-1) revealed that already 150 kg N ha-1 is sufficient to reach the maximal yield of radishes. Based on the low results of fertilizer N use efficiency (FNUE), we recommend two applications during the first 25 days of growth and a further application around day 50. These split applications adjusted to the plants’ needs increase the FNUE of the radish and decrease the fertilizer N losses during the growing season. However, split applications might be impractical in plastic covered R/F cultivations because mechanical equipment to apply fertilizer under the PE mulch is required. Based on the finding that 15N retention in soil and nitrate concentration in seepage water decreased similarly for ridges and furrows during the entire growing season, we conclude that the PE mulch had no significant effect on 15N retention in soil and on nitrate concentration in seepage water and did therefore not effectively protect the fertilizer in the ridges from percolation. Based on the simulation results, we found that the ridges and furrows contributed approximately an equal amount of leached N to the total amount. We therefore conclude that the PE mulch provided little protection for the fertilizer N in the ridges during heavy rainfall. N leaching amounts were further found to increase linearly with an increase in N addition rate as it is well known for R/F cultivations without PE mulch. The PE mulch did therefore not prevent the linear increase in leaching with an increase in fertilizer N addition. We summarize that without the use of additional measures such as split applications of fertilizer, the application of PE mulch in a summer monsoon climate with heavy rainfall events does not positively influence the N leaching rates.
In the 3rd study, we monitored soil water dynamics in the field and used this data set to simulate the influence of PE mulch on water fluxes with Hydrus 2D. We simulated soil water dynamics in 1) conventional flat tillage (CT); 2) R/F cultivation without PE mulched ridges (RT); and 3) R/F cultivation with PE mulched ridges (RTpm). The comparison of the simulated pressure heads during dry and wet periods revealed that the PE mulch induced significant soil moisture patterns only during the dry periods. During monsoon events, the effect of the PE mulch was dependent on the soil texture and the hydraulic conductivity. Summarizing the advantages and disadvantages of the R/F cultivation with PE mulch on sloped fields, the practice was observed to have the lowest amount of drainage water, the lowest evaporation rates but also the highest surface runoff rates. Hence, PE mulching might be assessed as a tool to reduce percolating water, but it concurrently increases water contribution to the river network by surface runoff.
Impact of extreme hydrological conditions on belowground carbon cycling and redox dynamics in peat soils from a northern temperate fen
Cristian Estop Aragonés
- Peatlands have an important role in the global carbon cycle and constitute the largest pool of carbon stored in terrestrial ecosystems due to their disproportionally high areal soil carbon density. This globally relevant carbon stock is the result of a process mostly initiated after the last glaciation period. A key factor for this long term carbon accumulation is the relative low decomposition of organic matter in these predominantly water logged ecosystems. Hydrological conditions play thus a fundamental role in peatlands and the feedback of carbon cycling in these ecosystems in response to climate change is under debate. Peatlands are important CO2 sinks but also constitute global sources of CH4. The atmospheric exchange and production rates of these greenhouse gases are strongly influenced by the hydrological regime. An increased frequency of extreme meteorological conditions resulting in drying and flooding events is predicted to occur in the future.
The major issue regarding the climate change debate at the global scale is how rapid these greenhouse gases are being released to the atmosphere. Despite the general consensus regarding the broad effects of drying and flooding on CO2 and CH4 exchange, belowground processes producing such greenhouse gases and their response to water table dynamics is underrepresented and usually simplified or overgeneralized. Temperature, moisture, oxygen content and nutrient content are among the major environmental controls for organic matter decomposition rates in peat soils. Another important and intrinsic control is peat quality or humification degree of organic matter. The interrelation and relevance of all these factors vary among sites and with hydrological condition in a temporal and spatial scale.
This work presents investigations focusing on belowground redox processes aiming to witness the dynamic interrelation of soil physical and chemical (soil gas and pore water chemistry) variables, and evaluates the relevance of some controls of organic matter decomposition during a wide range of hydrological conditions. Most of this work shows information under in situ conditions and complementary laboratory experiments were performed minding the in situ observations. The findings contribute to general knowledge by providing raw data in fen peats under fluctuating and contrasting water table conditions in a relatively high spatiotemporal resolved scale. Dryings led to increased air filled porosity, O2 intrusion, CO2 degassing, inhibition of methanogenesis and renewal of electron acceptors. The opposite trend occurred upon rewetting with pulses of iron and sulphate reduction and delayed methane production to a variable extent. Upon flooding, continued anaerobic conditions stimulated the accumulation of reduced products, methanogenic precursors (acetate and hydrogen) and CH4.
The general assumption that the water table directly controls the oxygen content in peat was relativized. This work shows that such relation is greatly influenced by peat physical properties, which partially control the changes in moisture. Based on these findings, the mineral content and the degree of compaction in organic soils can be implemented to more accurately represent the dynamics of aeration in peats upon water table changes. Another general assumption is that drying events, i.e. temporary decline of water table below mean position, lead to increased CO2 production and emission from peat soils to the atmosphere. Such statement was also relativized and must account for the depth distribution of respiration rates in relation to the mean water table of the peat deposit. Based on these findings, the high relative contribution of upper peat layers already exposed above the water table mask the effects of increased CO2 production in deeper peat upon water table drop. Additionally, the role of moisture was shown to be little for aerobic respiration. This work also evaluates the importance of drought severity by accounting for the post drought effects on methane production. More intense and prolonged drying events led to a greater regeneration of electron acceptors in peat soil, which broadly suppressed or limited methane production upon rewetting. This relation was not simple and several factors such as water table position, post drought water table fluctuations, temperature and organic matter content contributed to the recovery of methane production after drying. The provision of substrates by fermentation processes limited peat respiration during shallow water table and drying. In contrast, accumulation of acetate and hydrogen was observed during flooding indicating a decoupling of fermentation from terminal metabolism and favouring the co-occurrence of iron reduction, sulphate reduction and methanogenesis.
Monte Carlo Simulation Methods for Studying the Thermodynamics of Ligand Binding & Transfer Processes in Biomolecules
R. Thomas Ullmann
- The binding and transfer of ligands is of central
importance for the function of many biomolecular
systems. The main topic of this thesis is the
development and application of Monte Carlo (MC)
simulation methods for studying complex ligand
binding equilibria which can also involve
conformational changes. The simulated systems
were described by microstates within a continuum
electrostatics/molecular mechanics (CE/MM) model
of the receptor-ligand system. The CE/MM modeling
methodology was improved. The improvements led to
more detailed molecular models that enable a more
realistic reproduction of system properties and
environmental conditions. The developed simulation
methods were applied to biomolecular systems whose
function involves aspects that are important for
the understanding of bioenergetic energy
transduction. The results of this thesis are
presented in five articles that are published in
peer reviewed scientific journals.
Manuscript A presents the Monte Carlo simulation
software GMCT which was largely developed in this
thesis. The software offers a variety of different
simulation methods that allow the user to harness
the full potential of CE/MM models in the simulation
of complex receptor systems.
Manuscript B presents a novel theoretical framework
for free energy calculations with the free energy
perturbation method. The novel framework is more
broadly applicable and can lead to more efficient
simulations than previous formulations. The
derivation of the formalism also led to interesting
insights into general statistical mechanics. The
formalism was implemented in GMCT and could already
be used fruitfully for the free energy calculations
presented in Manuscripts C and D.
Manuscript C demonstrates the application of free
energy measures of cooperativity to study the
coupling of protonation, reduction and conformational
change in azurin from Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PaAz).
Such a coupling is prototypic for bioenergetic systems
because it forms the thermodynamic basis of their
energy transducing function. PaAz is an experimentally
well characterized, small electron transport protein.
For this reason, PaAz was used here as model system
to demonstrate the usefulness of cooperativity free
energies in detecting and quantifying thermodynamic
coupling between events in complex biomolecular
systems. The results of this study led to new insight
that could help to determine the still enigmatic
physiological role of PaAz.
In Manuscript D, free energy calculations were
applied to study the thermodynamics of transport
through the ammonium transporter Amt-1 from
Archaeoglobus fulgidus (AfAmt-1). Ammonium is the most
directly utilizable nitrogen source for plants and
microorganisms. AfAmt-1 and its homologues facilitate
the transport of ammonia/ammonium across biological
membranes in living beings from all domains of life.
It is intensely debated how these proteins perform
their function and whether ammonia or its protonated
form ammonium is actually transported. The study
extended upon previous theoretical studies by
including the effects of substrate concentration,
electrochemical transmembrane gradients,
proton-coupled binding equilibria and competitive
binding of different ligand species. It was found
that the transported species is most likely the
ammonium ion. An ammonia/proton symport mechanism
that involves a pair of coplanar histidine residues
at the center of the transmembrane pore as transient
proton acceptor is made plausible by the high
genetic conservation of these residues.
Manuscript E presents a first application of the
microstate description within a CE/MM model to the
simulation of the non-equilibrium dynamics of a
molecular system. We simulated the re-reduction
kinetics of the primary electron donor in the
photocycle of the bacterial photosynthetic reaction
center from Blastochloris viridis. The simulation
results are in very good agreement with
experimentally measured data.
Crystalline-core micelles based on triblock terpolymers with polyethylene middle blocks
- This thesis is focused on the crystallization-induced structure formation of polyethylene containing triblock terpolymers in organic solvents to surface-compartmentalized worm-like crystalline-core micelles (wCCMs). Obtaining profound knowledge of the parameters controlling the self-assembly process allowed the production of a variety of complex one-dimensional micellar architectures with many potential applications, such as adaptive surfactants.
At first, the basic parameters that control the crystallization-induced self-assembly were explored using symmetric polystyrene-block-polyethylene-block-poly(methyl methacrylate) (PS-b-PE-b-PMMA) triblock terpolymers and a PS-b-PE-b-PS triblock copolymer. In good solvents for the PE block, e.g. THF and toluene, the selective formation of wCCMs was observed over a wide range of concentration, applied crystallization temperature and polymer composition. Whereas wCCMs produced by PS-b-PE-b-PS showed a homogeneous PS corona, a patch-like compartmentalization of the corona was observed if the micelles were formed by PS-b-PE-b-PMMA. As THF shows equal solvent quality for both corona blocks, wCCMs with almost alternating PS and PMMA compartments of about 15 nm were observed in this solvent. However, if structure formation was conducted in bad solvents for PE, such as dioxane or dimethylacetamide, spherical micelles with amorphous PE cores were formed already before crystallization. Hence, the subsequent crystallization of PE resulted in spherical CCMs with a patchy or a homogeneous corona depending on the used triblock. These findings allow the highly selective production of stable spherical or worm-like CCMs from the same polymer.
As the corona structure of the patchy micelles self-assembled from triblock terpolymers was mainly deduced from transmission electron microscopy (TEM) performed on dried samples, a small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) study was performed in order to elucidate the morphology in solution. Therefore a partly deuterated triblock terpolymer was synthesized and measured at different contrasts to allow the selective detection of the different corona compartments. The resulting SANS curves could be interpreted using a form factor model for core-shell cylinders with alternating PS and PMMA hemishells including interparticle interactions, thus validating the TEM observations. Notably, Janus-type and patchy cylinders can be clearly distinguished using the applied form factor model.
Moreover, the controlled formation of wCCMs with tunable corona composition and structure was achieved using the cocrystallization of different triblock copolymers. Via random cocrystallization of PS-b-PE-b-PMMA and PS-b-PE-b-PS the corona morphology could be tuned continuously from a mixed corona at low PMMA content over spherical PMMA patches of increasing number and size to alternating PS and PMMA patches. This approach allows to manufacture wCCMs with predefined corona structure omitting the need to synthesize a new tailor-made triblock terpolymer for every desired morphology.
By establishing the controlled crystallization-driven self-assembly of triblock terpolymers with PE middle blocks, it was further possible to prepare wCCMs with predefined average lengths up to 500 nm and length polydispersities as low as Lw/Ln = 1.1. Here, self-assembled spherical CCMs of PS-b-PE-b-PS were used as seeds for the controlled growth of PS-b-PE-b-PS unimers. Upon further addition of PS-b-PE-b-PMMA unimers these grew epitaxially onto the preexisting wCCMs, resulting in triblock co-micelles that consisted of middle blocks with a homogeneous PS corona and outer blocks with alternating PS/PMMA compartments. These structures represent not only the first block co-micelles including blocks with a patchy corona, but also the first ones produced from purely organic block copolymers.
In view of application, the ability of patchy wCCMs formed by PS-b-PE-b-PMMA to stabilize interfaces was investigated using pendant-drop tensiometry. The observed reduction of the interfacial tension at the toluene/water interface was significantly higher than that of comparable triblock terpolymer single chains and that of wCCMs with a homogeneous PS corona. Interestingly, the obtained equilibrium interfacial tension equaled that of Janus cylinders with similar dimensions. To explain this unexpected finding the corona chains were proposed to adapt to the interface via selective collapse and shielding of the incompatible part of the corona chains. Studying wCCMs formed by several triblock terpolymers with different compositions, the interfacial activity was found to increase with increasing overall length of the corona chains, and to a certain extent with the molar fraction of PS units in the corona.
Energy-domain synchrotron radiation Mössbauer source for physics under extreme conditions
- Iron is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, and it is an important component in minerals. Electronic and magnetic properties of iron-bearing materials significantly affect processes occurring in the deep interior of the Earth. In the materials that make up the Earth’s lower mantle iron may exist in different valence, spin states and crystallographic environments. Most of the existing experimental techniques either do not allow to separately follow evolution of different iron sites or are not suitable for measurements under high-pressure/high-temperature conditions. This makes studies of iron electronic structure under such conditions extremely challenging.
The current Ph.D. thesis is divided into two major parts. The first part is dedicated to the development of a Synchrotron Mössbauer Source (SMS). This device allows energy domain Mossbauer spectroscopy to be performed on a sample under pressures above 100 GPa in laser heated diamond anvil cells. The second part is dedicated to studying the behavior of iron in iron/alumina-bearing silicate perovskite under conditions of the Earth’s lower mantle.
1. Synchrotron Mössbauer Source
There are several techniques that allow magnetic and electronic properties of materials under extreme conditions to be probed: X-ray Emission Spectroscopy (XES), X-ray absorption near edge structure (XANES), Nuclear Resonance Spectroscopes, etc. For elements in which observation of Mössbauer effect is possible the most mature, sensitive, and suitable technique for studies of magnetic and electronic properties is energy-domain Mössbauer spectroscopy.
However, due to low brilliance of utilized radioactive sources and low natural abundance of iron in lower mantle minerals measurements using conventional energy- resolved Mössbauer spectroscopy require very long time and usually are limited to moderate pressures. The problem can be solved by combining the outstanding properties of synchrotron radiation (high brilliance, possibility for extreme focusing) with the energy-resolved approach. In brief, what is needed is a synchrotron source of Mössbauer radiation. Construction of such source was the primary task of my PhD work. The possibility to develop such a source was demonstrated at the Nuclear Resonance beamline ID18 at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) by Smirnov et al. (1997). The source is based on pure nuclear reflections existing in antiferromagnetic 57FeBO3 crystals.
￼The major technical goals of my PhD work were to (a) construct a device that would be permanently ready for operation, and (b) optimize it to have the best possible resolution and highest possible intensity. In order to achieve these goals theoretical calculations were first conducted to understand how to best improve the performance. Second, several experiments were performed to confirm the theoretically predicted results. Third, several optical schemes of the SMS were tested in order to determine the optimal setup.
As a result of the research and development program a powerful Synchrotron Mössbauer Source (SMS) for high-pressure applications was constructed at the Nuclear Resonance beamline (ID18) of the ESRF. Using results obtained in the combined theoretical/experimental study of angular dependence of energy and temporal distributions of the pure nuclear reflections of iron borate crystal, the SMS was optimized for the highest possible intensity and best possible resolution. The bandwidth of radiation provided by the SMS is between 10-15 neV (2-3 Γ0, where Γ0 is a natural linewidth of Mössbauer resonance for Iron), the intensity is ~2.5×104 photons/s and the typical scanning velocity range is about ±12 mm/s (±0.6 μeV). In contrast to conventional radioactive sources, the SMS gives the possibility to focus the beam to tens of microns. SMS is the in-line monochromator, permanently located in the optics hutch and operational immediately after moving it into the incident beam position. The source can be used with all existing sample environments in the experimental hutches downstream of the beamline.
The implementation of this device opens the possibility for studying systems with complex hyperfine structure utilizing energy-resolved approach under various extreme conditions, for example at high-pressure. Furthermore, the SMS allows for very short collection times of only a few minutes, which enables data to be collected during laser heating. Several high-pressure and high-pressure/high-temperature studies that have already been performed are described in the second part of this Ph.D. thesis. The almost 100% recoilless resonant radiation delivered by the source and its high brightness allow a broad field of SMS applications. The SMS can be utilized in any mode of synchrotron storage ring operation.
2. Study of the spin state of Fe3+ ions in perovskite
Silicate perovskite (Mg,Fe)(Si,Al)O3 is the most abundant phase in the Earth’s lower mantle. Knowledge of its properties is indispensable for understanding lower mantle behavior. Dynamic, thermodynamic, and transport properties of silicate perovskite can be significantly affected by the valence and spin state of iron. Silicate perovskite with 5-10 mol% of Fe (where Fe3+/ΣFe ~50–75% (McCammon et al., ￼1997)) and Al, is dominant phase in Earth lower mantle (~75 vol%) (Zhang et al., 2006; Stackhouse et al., 2007). The behavior of Fe electronic properties under conditions close to those of the Earths lower mantle remains strongly controversial.
The second part of my Ph.D. work is dedicated to an investigation of the spin state of iron in Fe3+- rich silicate perovskite at high pressure. Four different silicate perovskite samples with different stoichiometry were studied using the Synchrotron Mössbauer Source. SMS spectra were collected at room temperature and pressures up to 122 GPa using diamond anvil cells, with or without laser annealing of the samples.
The hyperfine parameters, i.e., centre shift and quadrupole splitting, for the same phases, which were extracted from measured spectra for all perovskite samples studied in this work, are the same at each pressure within experimental error. Moreover, there is no change in Fe3+/ΣFe for individual samples over the entire pressure range of the experiment. The hyperfine parameters of the Fe3+ doublet are consistent with the high-spin state (Gütlich et al., 2011), and their smooth variation with pressure indicates that Fe3+ does not undergo spin crossover within the entire pressure range. All observed changes in the spectra are associated with abrupt changes in the electronic state of Fe2+. The hyperfine parameters of the low QS Fe2+ doublet correspond to the high-spin state (McCammon et al., 2008), while the doublet with high quadrupole splitting, whose intensity grows with pressure at the expense of the Fe2+ high-spin state, corresponds either to intermediate-spin (IS) Fe2+ (McCammon et al., 2008) or a distortion of the site occupied by high-spin Fe2+ (Hsu et al., 2010). Based on results presented in a work of Narygina (2010), we indentify changes in Fe2+ electronic structure as high-spin to intermediate spin transition. Irrespective of the interpretation of the Fe2+ spin state, conclusions regarding the absence of spin crossover in Fe3+ remain valid.
These results show that the previously reported spin crossover of Fe3+ ions does not occur when Fe3+ occupies the A-site. In both alumina-containing and alumina-free silicate perovskites Fe3+ ions remain in the high-spin state up to at least 122 GPa, i.e., almost up to the pressure corresponding to the lower mantle - outer core boundary. The results also indicate that Fe3+ ions do not diffuse from the A-site to the B-site in perovskite after high-temperature annealing at high pressure, Mössbauer spectra of before and after annealing are identical. There is also no evidence for high-spin to low-spin crossover of Fe3+ ions due to site change. In contrast, the results confirm that Fe2+ ions undergo a transition from a high-spin to an intermediate spin state, without reaching a low-spin state within the studied pressure range at room temperature. These results suggest that the seismic velocity anomalies in the lower mantle cannot be attributed to spin crossover in Fe3+.
Synthesis and investigation of boron phases at high pressures and temperatures
- Boron, discovered as an element in 1808 and produced in pure form in 1909, still remains one of the most complicated light elements full of surprises. Even the number of pure boron polymorphs is a subject of intensive discussions. It is proven the existence of α-, β- and γ-boron phases. Structural details of the most common boron phase (β-B) are still not fully revealed. For decades boron remained the last stable element in the periodic table, whose ground state was not determined. It has been a subject of a longstanding controversy, whether α-B or β-B is the thermodynamically stable phase at ambient pressure and temperature.
The existence of the α-tetragonal boron phase T-50 has been an open question since its first discovery. It was not clear if T-50 could be synthesized as a pure boron phase or its structure must be stabilized by the presence of carbon or nitrogen. Theorists claimed that T-50 could not exist at all because of its unstable electronic configuration.
We have developed a method of synthesis of single crystals of α-boron. They were crystallized from a boron-platinum melt at high pressures (6-11 GPa) and high temperatures (1450-1875 K). An average size of the as-grown isometric crystals was 60 μm to 80 μm in maximum dimension. The crystal structure is in good agreement with the literature data. Detailed investigation of single crystals of α-boron using Raman spectroscopy was performed under elevated pressures and temperatures. The behaviour of the Raman modes under pressure was studied both theoretically and experimentally. Single crystals of β-boron were grown at temperatures above 1550 K and pressures up to 11 GPa using the similar methodology like that worked out for synthesis of α-boron.
In a series of experiments above 8 GPa we synthesized single crystals of tetragonal δ-boron (also known in literature as α-tetragonal boron or T-50) and refined the crystal structure of this phase based on synchrotron X-ray diffraction data. The purity of δ-boron was confirmed by means of the microprobe analysis and the electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS).
A new, so far unknown boron phase, ε-boron, was synthesized at pressures of 8-10 GPa and temperatures between 2000-2250 K. The microprobe analysis and EELS revealed that the samples were not contaminated. The crystal structure of the new phase was determined by means of single crystal X-ray diffraction. ε-boron crystallizes in a R-3m space group with the unit cell parameters a = 5.5940(7) Å and c = 12.0756(16) Å (in hexagonal setting). The unit cell contains 15 boron atoms. The structure can be presented by the network of B12 icosahedra with a group of three boron atoms in the inter-icosahedra space. This phase is isostructural to boron carbide B13C2 (if carbon atoms are substituted by boron ones). Measured hardness is ~60 GPa which places ε-boron in the family of superhard materials.
We have demonstrated that δ-boron and ε-boron are metastable polymorphs because (a) they were found only together with other stable boron phases (α-, β-, or γ-B), and (b) upon heating at high pressure, both δ-B and ε-B transform to β- or γ-B, if the PT conditions correspond to the fields of stability of the latter.
Summarising, in the course of the present work the high-pressure high-temperature synthesis of the five boron polymorphs was established as a reproducible, verifiable and well-documented process. Following the synthesis prescription one can grow single crystals of α-B, β-B, γ-B, δ-B, and ε-B phases. Based on results of numerous HPHT experiments, the phase boundaries between the stable boron phases (α-B, β-B, γ-B) were found. Thus, our serial exploration of the pressure-temperature field using the large volume press synthesis technique resulted in establishing the phase diagram of boron (showing also the PT fields of the appearance of its two metastable phases, δ-B and ε-B) in the pressure interval of 3 GPa to 18 GPa at temperatures between 1073 K and 2423 K. Based on our experimental data and linear extrapolation of the α/β phase boundary down to ambient pressure we could resolve a longstanding controversy on the ground state of boron in favour of the α-B phase.
Soil erosion and conservation potential of row crop farming in mountainous landscapes of South Korea
- Soils play an essential role for mankind because they provide fundamental ecosystem services required for human life, primarily for the production of food by providing the environment for plant growth. However, soils worldwide became highly threatened by human induced degradation, especially as a consequence of accelerated erosion by water during recent decades. In consideration of climate change and an increasing food demand of a rising population, there is an urgent need to conserve the soil resources by implementing effective erosion control measures for agricultural production. The effective implementation of those measures strongly depends on the specific conditions of particular regions and requires the analysis of the existing farming systems and their capability for erosion control.
Objective of this thesis is the analysis of the major agricultural practices applied for row crop cultivation in mountainous watersheds of South Korea with respect to water erosion and the identification of their conservation potential. Our first two studies analyze the subsurface flow processes, the runoff patterns, and the associated erosion rates of the widely applied plastic covered ridge-furrow system (plastic mulch), and our third study investigates the impact of herbicide applications on erosion associated with conventional and organic farming. To analyze the flow processes induced by the plastic mulch cultivation, we conducted four irrigation experiments on potato fields that represent a smooth surface, uncovered ridges, and plastic covered ridges with and without a developed crop canopy. With an automatic sprinkler, we irrigated small plots with a dye tracer solution of Brilliant Blue and potassium iodide, collected surface runoff, and excavated soil profiles to visualize the subsurface flow patterns, which were subsequently analyzed by image index functions. We found that the ridge-furrow system, especially when ridges are covered with plastic, decreased infiltration and generated high amounts of surface runoff, whereas a developed crop canopy increased infiltration due to interception and stem flow. The analyses of the subsurface flow patterns show that the plastic covered ridge-furrow system induces preferential infiltration in furrows and planting holes due to its topography and the impermeable covers, but that the impact on flow processes in the soils is relatively small compared to the impact on runoff generation. To identify the patterns of overland flow and the erosion rates associated with the plastic mulch system, we installed runoff collectors to monitor runoff and sediment transport of two potato fields with concave and convex topographies, and we applied the EROSION 3D model to compare the plastic covered ridge-furrow system to uncovered ridges and a smooth surface. We found that plastic mulch cultivation considerably increases soil erosion compared to uncovered ridges as a consequence of high amounts of surface runoff. Our results show that the ridge-furrow system concentrated overland flow on the concave field, resulting in severe gully erosion, but prevented flow accumulation and reduced erosion on the convex field, which demonstrates that the effect of this cultivation strategy is primarily controlled by the field topography and its orientation. To analyze the effects of conventional and organic farming on water erosion, we measured multiple vegetation parameters of crops and weeds of conventional and organic farms cultivating bean, potato, radish, and cabbage, and we simulated long-term soil loss rates with the Revised Universal Soil Loss Equation (RUSLE). We found that organic farming reduced erosion for radish, as a result of an increased weed biomass due to the absence of herbicides, but that it increased erosion for potato due to lower crop coverage, presumably as a consequence of crop-weed competition or herbivory associated with the absence of agricultural chemicals. Although we demonstrated that a developed weed cover in the furrows can potentially decrease the erosion risk for row crops, our results show that the average annual erosion rates of both farming systems exceed by far any tolerable soil loss.
In consideration of the generally high soil loss found in our studies, we conclude that the applied farming practices are not capable for effective erosion control and soil conservation in this region. However, based on our findings, we could identify possible modifications of those practices that can help to reduce the risk of erosion in the future. We recommend perforated plastic covers for ridges to reduce runoff generation, and the orientation of the ridge-furrow system along the contours or towards field edges to prevent flow accumulation and gully formation. Additionally, we suggest residue mulching of furrows to protect the soil surface from overland flow, and the cultivation of winter cover crops after harvest to maintain a better soil cover throughout the year.
Site-specific modelling of turbulent fluxes on the Tibetan Plateau
- The Tibetan Plateau attracts attention in recent decades due to its influence on the East-Asian Monsoon and regional hydrology. Therefore estimates of the regional energy and water balance have come into the focus, utilising remote sensing and regional model approaches, but such attempts require surface-specific flux data of high quality for validation. Eddy-covariance measurements are qualified for this task, but these are scarce on the Tibetan Plateau, incomplete due to quality filtering and potentially biased due to the well-known closure gap of the observed energy balance as well as small-scale heterogeneity. This thesis is related to the infrastructural EU project CEOP-AEGIS, aiming at a standardised processing of eddy-covariance data – including correction of the energy balance closure and gap-filling – on the Tibetan Plateau.
In a pre-analysis step, particular issues about data quality of turbulent fluxes (sensible heat flux and latent heat flux/evapotranspiration) at Tibetan Plateau sites have been addressed. One of them is the degradation of data quality due to the frequent occurrence of near-ground free convective conditions. Another issue arises from coordinate rotation for non-omnidirectional sonic anemometer, which requires a careful handling. In consequence, a sector-wise planar-fit is recommended, disregarding the sector influenced by the anemometer's mounting structure. This can reduce occurrences of invalid momentum flux data, whilst no effect on scalar fluxes can be seen.
As a main topic, this thesis investigates the application of process-based modelling to estimate turbulent flux exchange between the surface and the atmosphere for typical surface types on the Tibetan Plateau. Therefore a case study has been carried out at Nam Co, Tibetan Plateau. Turbulent flux measurements over dry and wet grassland as well as over a shallow lake have been conducted during the summer monsoon season of 2009, and modelled with the land surface scheme SEWAB and a hydrodynamic multilayer model for the lake. Adaptations were implemented to the land surface scheme with regard to the special conditions on the Tibetan Plateau, such as extreme diurnal variation of surface temperature and variation in soil moisture, further called TP version. The analysis includes a consequent model comparison with eddy-covariance data, using model parameters derived independently rather than applying optimisation strategies. Specific attention has been devoted to the impact of observed energy balance closure and its correction, establishing a new correction method according to the Buoyancy flux.
The land surface model reasonably represented the dry and the wet grassland site by only setting the site-specific model parameters, and the TP version performed overall better than the original version, while laboratory measurements of soil parameters failed to improve model performance in comparison to standard parameter values. Soil temperature and moisture measurements as well as field based knowledge of the soil type have been identified as minimum requirements for model parameter acquisition. Lake surface fluxes have been modelled reliably, the lake depth has been taken into account. These results can be transferred to any lake on the Tibetan Plateau given the required forcing data including a representative lake surface temperature.
The choice of the surface model and the selection of the energy balance closure correction method are inter-related problems. The correction partitions the balance residual to the sensible and latent heat flux. This can be typically done according to the Bowen ratio, or according to the presented new method which attributes a larger fraction to the sensible heat flux. Testing both methods leads to partly ambiguous model performance, especially with respect to the used parameter sets. It clearly leads to shifts in model bias, while the R² metric suggests higher model compatibility to the Bowen ratio correction. The latter agrees with previous findings with respect to SEWAB modelling, but is in contradiction with recent experimental findings, attributing the closure gap to secondary circulations, driven by buoyancy. Future research on model structure should account for such processes.
As expected, the flux measurements showed distinct differences between the investigated land use types in magnitude and dynamics. The used models were able to resolve these differences in general with contrasts between surface types exceeding model errors. This must be considered when validating regional flux estimates with eddy-covariance data from the dry Nam Co station. The findings from this thesis provide the basis to process eddy-covariance data on the required level as described above.
Dynamic Self-Assembly of Magnetic Colloidal Particles
Dynamic self-assembly represent one of the most powerful tools in Nature to spontaneously organize a system on a hierarchy of different scales.
Most of the processes at the nano/micro scale occur at very low Reynold’s number where inertia can be neglected. Creeping flow magnetic systems can be characterized by the Mason number.
The Mason number measures the ratio between the viscous and the magnetic torque and is the main parameter governing the behavior of paramagnetic colloids investigated in this thesis.
The work presented in this thesis explores new dynamic regimes of colloidal dynamics which occur when suddenly switching to high Mason numbers.
In a static magnetic field the equilibrium structure of paramagnetic colloids are chains. At high Mason number in a rotating magnetic field the time averaged equilibrium conformation is a two dimensional cluster.
By switching from a static to a rotating magnetic external field, we cause a transient dynamics from a static to the dynamic equilibrium state.
The first question addressed in this thesis is: what is the physics that determines the transient folding pathway from one to the other equilibrium state?
Dynamic magnetic fields were used by others to propel top down DNA-linked chains of paramagnetic colloids in a liquid.
The second question asked is whether we can dynamically self-assemble swimmers taking a fully bottom up approach?
The third question is: is it possible to assemble more complex dynamic patterns that lead to motion of the swimmers governed by more collective coupled hydrodynamics that goes beyond slender body theory of the linked chains?
This thesis answers the three questions and contributes to the understanding of colloidal dynamics and self-assembly in dynamic magnetic fields in the regime of high Mason numbers.
We explore two aspects of the dynamic self-assembly i.e. the transient kinetics between two dynamic self-assembled equilibria and the dynamically self-assembled propulsion of magnetic swimmers beyond slender body hydrodynamics.
The thesis therefore aims at achieving magnetic control over the assembly of complex dynamic colloidal structures.