Dependency of BET surface area on particle size for some granitic minerals.
Journal article, 2011
In order to assess the geochemical retention properties of rocks, which will be the final barrier for radionuclide transport to the biosphere in the case of a failed deep underground repository for spent nuclear fuel, radionuclide sorption experiments are usually made with crushed material. This raises the issue of extrapolating results obtained from laboratory experiments to the field scale. As sorption is generally related to the surface area of the geological material, it is then important to consider the dependency of the specific surface area on the particle size. In this work, BET surface area determinations of samples of different particle sizes are conducted on two minerals commonly found in granite: labradorite and magnetite. The results show a linear relationship between BET surface area and the inverse of the particle size, up to a certain particle size. Furthermore, results also show that the specific surface area for intact, larger pieces is much smaller than the one predicted by a linear extrapolation of results on crushed material. Therefore, extrapolation of BET area for fine particles to the field situation will lead to an overestimation of the surface area and thereby also the radionuclide sorption, if sorption coefficients are extrapolated as well. Also of importance is that these results show that sorption experiments on crushed material may dominantly reflect properties of new surface, created during the mechanically treatment of the samples.