Metals coprecipitation with barite: Nano-XRF observation of enhanced strontium incorporation

Heather A. Hunter, Florence T. Ling, Catherine A. Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Coprecipitation can be an effective treatment method for the removal of environmentally relevant metals from industrial wastewaters such as produced waters from the oil and gas industry. The precipitation of barite, BaSO4, through the addition of sulfate removes barium while coprecipitating strontium and other alkaline earth metals even when these are present at concentrations below their solubility limit. Among other analytical methods, X-ray fluorescence (XRF) nanospectroscopy at the Hard X-ray Nanoprobe (HXN) beamline at the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) was used to quantify Sr incorporation into barite. Thermodynamic modeling of (Ba,Sr)SO4 solid solutions was done using solid solution - aqueous solution (SS-AS) theory. The quantitative, high-resolution nano-XRF data show clearly that the Sr content in (Ba,Sr)SO4 solid solutions varies widely among particles and even within a single particle. We observed substantial Sr incorporation that is far larger than thermodynamic models predict, likely indicating the formation of metastable solid solutions. We also observed that increasing barite supersaturation of the aqueous phase led to increased Sr incorporation, as predicted by available kinetic models. These results suggest that coprecipitation offers significant potential for designing treatment systems for aqueous metals' removal in desired metastable compositions. Solution conditions may be optimized to enhance the incorporation of Sr by increasing sulfate addition such that the barite saturation index remains above ∼3 or by increasing the aqueous Sr to Ba ratio.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-245
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Engineering Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Chemistry


  • barite
  • coprecipitation
  • industrial wastewater
  • metals
  • solid solution
  • strontium
  • trace elements


Dive into the research topics of 'Metals coprecipitation with barite: Nano-XRF observation of enhanced strontium incorporation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this