Electrochemistry of Pyrite

Wadsworth, Milton E. ; Doyle, F. M. ; Li, Jun ; Peters, E. ; Zhu, Ximeng
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 15
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1993
The electrochemical behavior of pyrite in borate/sulfate solutions was investigated using cyclic voltammetry. Three anodic peaks at approximately -0.8 V, -0.1 V and +0.5 V (SCE) were detected along with their corresponding reduction peaks. The first two peaks correspond to the oxidation of surface products. The third peak corresponds to the direct oxidation of pyrite with reaction products FeO oxides. sulfate ion and partially oxidized sulfur intermediates present as a surface film of polysulfides and So. The Few oxides and sulfur intermediates were reduced to ferrous hydroxide and HS during the negative-going scan. The HS interacted preferentially with Fe(OH), on the surface to form FeS. Excess fenous hydroxide continued to reduce to metallic iron. During the return positive-going scan, metallic iron was oxidized to ferrous hydroxide and FeS was oxidized to pyrite. These reactions are characterized by a unique double peak observed in the region -0.8 to -0.65 V. The growth kinetics of the surface sulfur film formed during anodic oxidation were studied using chronoarnperomeay. Potentiostatic measurements were well correlated by a paralinear rate equation, suggesting the formation of an intermediate passive film, associated with the simultaneous dissolution of the outer layer of the film. The reaction rates were affected by applied potential, solution pH and temperature, but were independent of electrode rotation speed. A reaction kinetics model which fitted well with experimental results, was developed.
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