The solubility product controls the rate of calcite dissolution in pure water and seawater

10 January 2024

Chemical Science

Minjun Yang, Ling Tan, Christopher Batchelor-McAuley and Richard G. Compton, Chem.Sci.,2024,15,2464,

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Quantification of calcite dissolution underpins climate and oceanographic modelling. We report the factors controlling the rate at which individual crystals of calcite dissolved. Clear, generic criteria based on the change of calcite particle dimensions measured microscopically with time are established to indicate if dissolution occurs under kinetic or thermodynamic control. The dissolution of calcite crystals into water is unambiguously revealed to be under thermodynamic control such that the rate at which the crystal dissolved is controlled by the rate of diffusion of ions from a saturated surface layer adjacent to the calcite surface. As such the dissolution rate is controlled by the true stoichiometric solubility product which is inferred from the microscopic measurement as a function of the concentration of NaCl. Comparison with accepted literature values shows that the role of ion pairing at high ionic strengths as in seawater, specifically that of CaCO3 and other ion pairs, exerts a significant influence since these equilibria control the amount of dissolved calcium and carbonate ions in the later of solution immediately adjacent to the solid.