Coal Burning Produces Rare Titanium Oxides

  • Author:
  • Published: 14 August 2017
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Nature Communications/Nature Publishing Group
thumbnail image: Coal Burning Produces Rare Titanium Oxides

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) has eight modifications, with the three most common being rutile, anatase, and brookite. Titania suboxides with the formula TixO2x−1 (4 ≤ x ≤ 9) can form so-called Magnéli phases, which are structurally similar to rutile. These phases are usually very rarely observed in nature.

Michael F. Hochella, Jr., Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, USA, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA, USA, and colleagues have discovered that industrial coal burning can produce large quantities of the otherwise rare Magnéli phases. The team collected sediment close to a coal ash spill site as well as ash from different coal-burning plants and analyzed the samples using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and selected area electron diffraction (SAED). They detected Magnéli phases in all samples. The TixO2x−1 particles have sizes in the nanometer range.

The Magnéli phases are not found in coal itself, but are formed from TiO2 minerals naturally present in coal under the combustion conditions. According to the researchers, the discovery of this rarely found species in coal ash could allow the tracking of solid-state emissions from coal burning. The team points out that, considering the amount of coal burnt in the last centuries, these phases should be widely distributed in the environment by now. Due to their nanoscale size, the particles could be inhaled and their toxicity should be tested.


Article Views: 1852

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

Bookmark and Share

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from, please contact us first for permission. more

CONNECT: on Facebook on Twitter on YouTube on LinkedIn Sign up for our free newsletter

A product of ChemPubSoc Europe (16 European Chemical Societies)and Wiley-VCH