The aqueous silica species that form when quartz dissolves in water or saline solutions are hydrated. Therefore, the amount of quartz that will dissolve at a given temperature is influenced by the prevailing activity of water. Using a standard state in which there are 1,000 g of water (55.51 moles) per 1,000 cm3 of solution allows activity of water in a NaCl solution at high temperature to be closely approximated by the effective density of water, pe, in that solution, i.e. the product of the density of the NaCl solution times the weight fraction of water in the solution, corrected for the amount of water strongly bound to aqueous silica and Na+ as water of hydration. Generally, the hydration of water correction is negligible. The solubility of quartz in pure water is well known over a large temperature-pressure range. An empirical formula expresses that solubility in terms of temperature and density of water and thus takes care of activity coefficient and pressure-effect terms. Solubilities of quartz in NaCl solutions can be calculated by using that equation and substituting pe, for the density of pure water. Calculated and experimentally determined quartz solubilities in NaCl solutions show excellent agreement when the experiments were carried out in non-reactive platinum, gold, or gold plus titanium containers. Reactive metal containers generally yield dissolved silica concentrations higher than calculated, probably because of the formation of metal chlorides plus NaOH and H2. In the absence of NaOH there appears to be no detectable silica complexing in NaCl solutions, and the variation in quartz solubility with NaCl concentration at constant temperature can be accounted for entirely by variations in the activity of water. The average hydration number per molecule of dissolved SiO2 in liquid water and NaCl solutions decreases from about 2.4 at 200??C to about 2.1 at 350??C. This suggests that H4SiO4 may be the dominant aqueous silica species at 350??C, but other polymeric forms become important at lower temperatures. ?? 1983.
Additional publication details
A method of calculating quartz solubilities in aqueous sodium chloride solutions