Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 617–627 | Cite as

Transformation of cadmium-associated schwertmannite and subsequent element repartitioning behaviors

  • Cong Fan
  • Chuling GuoEmail author
  • Meiqin Chen
  • Weilin Huang
  • Jingjing Wan
  • John.R. Reinfelder
  • Xiaofei Li
  • Yufei Zeng
  • Guining Lu
  • Zhi DangEmail author
Research Article


Schwertmannite is an important sink for cadmium (Cd) in acid mine drainage (AMD) environments and is unstable when environmental conditions change. However, the release and redistribution of Cd during schwertmannite transformation with respect to pre-bound Cd are poorly understood. In this work, the transformation of cadmium-associated schwertmannite and subsequent Cd repartitioning behaviors were investigated. The way of schwertmannite associated with Cd was predominant by absorption, and the diffuse layer model (DLM) showed that Cd2+ existed as monodentate complexes ≡Fe(1)OCd+ and ≡Fe(2)OCd+ on schwertmannite surfaces. Kinetics of SO42− release and mineralogical characterization both showed that the mineral transformation rates decreased and more lepidocrocite aggregated with increasing adsorbed Cd levels. The shrinking core model revealed that Fe(II)-induced process would affect mineral dissolution by changing surface reaction-controlled step to internal diffusion-controlled step, and significantly promote the dissolution rate of Cd-adsorbed schwertmannite. Adsorbed Cd blocked the surface sites for later Fe(II) adsorption and the Fe(II)-Fe(III) electron transfer, then resulted in the decelerated transformation and the accumulation of intermediate phase lepidocrocite. The maximum release of aqueous Cd occurred after 1 mM Fe2+ addition, then over 69% of initial added Cd(aq) re-bound to solid-phase accompanying with mineral transformation, and finally, Cd was mainly associated with the secondary minerals by complexation with surficial OH groups. These findings are useful for developing the strategies for treating Cd contamination in AMD affected areas.


Acid mine drainage Schwertmannite Cadmium Transformation Sulfate release kinetics Cd redistribution 


Funding information

This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 41330639 and 41720104004), the National Key Technology Support Program (No. 2015BAD05B05), and the Science and Technology Planning Project of Guangdong Province (No. 2016B020242004).

Supplementary material

11356_2018_3441_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.1 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1.12 mb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cong Fan
    • 1
  • Chuling Guo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Meiqin Chen
    • 3
  • Weilin Huang
    • 4
  • Jingjing Wan
    • 1
  • John.R. Reinfelder
    • 4
  • Xiaofei Li
    • 1
  • Yufei Zeng
    • 1
  • Guining Lu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
  • Zhi Dang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Environment and EnergySouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.The Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Ecosystem Restoration in Industry Clusters, Ministry of EducationSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.School of Environmental and Biological EngineeringGuangdong University of Petrochemical TechnologyMaomingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Department of Environmental SciencesRutgers, the State University of New JerseyNew BrunswickUSA
  5. 5.Guangdong Provincial Engineering and Technology Research Center for Environmental Risk Prevention and Emergency DisposalSouth China University of TechnologyGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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