Magnetic resonance in chemistry : MRC

Effects of ions on water structure: a low-field ¹H T₁ NMR relaxometry approach.

PMID 25356882


Aqueous salt solutions play an important role in nature because of their effects on environmental biogeochemical processes and on structural properties of biomolecules. Upon dissolution, salts split in ions that are solvated. Water in hydration shells is subjected to molecular motions that can be monitored by (1)H T1 NMR relaxometry. This technique allowed the evaluation of the nature of the interactions between water and ions via variable temperature experiments. Examination of relaxometry properties of aqueous solutions at variable salt concentrations allowed acknowledgement of the role played by ions in either structuring or destructuring water aggregates. A mathematical model has been applied on six environmentally relevant salts: NaCl, KCl, CaCl2, CaCO3, NaNO3, and NH4NO3. It was linear only for the concentration dependence of KCl-R1. This model accorded with the one reported in literature where it has been considered valid only for diluted solutions. However, in the present study, the range of linearity for KCl was extended up to the saturation point. The model was modified for NaCl, CaCl2, and CaCO3 by using it as an exponential form in order to account for the nonlinearity of the R1-versus-concentration curves. Nonlinearity was explained by the nonnegligible ion-ion interactions occurring as concentration was increased. Finally, further modification was needed to account for the asymmetric distribution of water around nitrate (in NaNO3 and NH4NO3) and ammonium (in NH4NO3). This study is preliminary to the comprehension of the diffusion mechanisms of ions in water solutions at the equilibrium condition with solid surfaces such as soils and biochar-amended soils.