Water is commonly known as the universal solvent because it dissolves more substances than other compounds. But, water is commonly known as an enigmatic substance too, with many properties that seem at first glance paradoxical and others that chemists are yet to explain. Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory hoped to learn more about how ions interact with mineral surfaces in water and have used X-ray studies to open the door on understanding how contaminants travel in the environment.
Ions, ranging from nutrients such as calcium to contaminants such as lead, are present in natural waters across the globe. Their transportation through the environment is often controlled by the degree of adsorption to mineral surfaces. Understanding the adsorption and desorption processes involved could lead to new ways of controlling water quality.
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