Birnessite is a layered MnO2 mineral with a nanoscale interlayer region that accommodates layers of intercalated water. Variable distributions of Mn sites with oxidation states of II, III and IV are responsible for the high catalytic reactivity of birnessite in nature and as a valuable candidate for energy storage solutions. We here report water loading capabilities and the vibrational spectral signatures of two forms of birnessite of strongly contrasting particle size. Using X-ray diffraction we find that potassium-birnessite accommodates no more than one monolayer (1W) of water in its interlayer region. Molecular simulations show that this is an energetically favorable hydration state where interlayer potassium-water and direct water-birnessite interactions are greater than at other hydration levels. Simulations also suggest a stable 2W state but that is not achieved experimentally by contact with water vapor. Finally, this work provides a means to predict the distribution of adsorbed and interlayer water molecules using a recently developed composite model.
Revised: February 15, 2021 |
Published: January 19, 2021