Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Computer Simulations Indicate Calcium Carbonate Has a Dense Liquid Phase

Published: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Berkeley Lab research could help scientists predict how carbon is stored underground.

Computer simulations conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) could help scientists make sense of a recently observed and puzzling wrinkle in one of nature’s most important chemical processes. It turns out that calcium carbonate—the ubiquitous compound that is a major component of seashells, limestone, concrete, antacids and myriad other naturally and industrially produced substances—may momentarily exist in liquid form as it crystallizes from solution.

Calcium carbonate is a huge player in the planet’s carbon cycle, so any new insight into how it behaves is potentially big news. The prediction of a dense liquid phase during the conversion of calcium carbonate to a solid could help scientists understand the response of marine organisms to changes in seawater chemistry due to rising atmospheric CO2 levels. It could also help them predict the extent to which geological formations can act as carbon storage reservoirs, among other examples.

The research is published in the August 23 issue of the journal Science. It was performed in support of the Center for Nanoscale Control of Geologic CO2, an Energy Frontier Research Center established at Berkeley Lab by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The research may also reconcile some confounding experimental observations. For more than a century, scientists believed that crystals nucleate from solution by overcoming an energy barrier. But recent studies of calcium carbonate revealed the presence of nanoscopic clusters which, under certain conditions, appear to circumvent the barrier by following an alternative aggregation-based crystallization pathway.

“Because nucleation is ubiquitous in both natural and synthetic systems, those findings have forced diverse scientific communities to reevaluate their longstanding view of this process,” says the study’s co-corresponding author Jim De Yoreo, formerly of Berkeley Lab and now a scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The Berkeley Lab-led team used molecular dynamics simulations to study the onset of calcium carbonate formation. The simulations predict that in sufficiently supersaturated calcium carbonate solutions, nanoscale dense liquid droplets can spontaneously form. These droplets then coalesce to form an amorphous solid prior to crystallization.

The findings support the aggregation-based mechanism of calcium carbonate formation. They also indicate that the presence of the nanoscale phase is consistent with a process called liquid-liquid separation, which is well known in alloys and polymers, but unexpected for salt solutions.

“Our simulations suggest the existence of a dense liquid form of calcium carbonate,” says co-corresponding author Adam Wallace. He conducted the research while a post-doctoral researcher in Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division, and is now an assistant professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Delaware.

“This is important because it is an as-yet unappreciated component of the carbon cycle,” adds Wallace. “It also provides a means of explaining the unusual presence of nanoscale clusters in solution within the context of established physical mechanisms.”

This research was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science through the Energy Frontier Research Center program established in 2009. The work was conducted at Berkeley Lab’s Molecular Foundry, a Department of Energy national user facility. The research also used resources of the Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, which is located at Berkeley Lab.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Way of Displaying 3D Molecular Structures
Metal-organic frameworks provide a new platform for solving the structure of hard-to-study samples.
Monday, August 22, 2016
Copper is Key in Burning Fat
Berkeley Lab scientist says results could provide new target for obesity research.
Wednesday, June 08, 2016
How to Train Your Bacterium
Berkeley lab scientists teach bacterium a new trick for artificial photosynthesis.
Wednesday, January 06, 2016
Nanocarriers May Carry New Hope for Brain Cancer Therapy
Berkeley lab researchers develop nanoparticles that can carry therapeutics across the brain blood barrier.
Monday, November 23, 2015
Dirty,Crusty Meals Fit for (Long-Dormant) Microbes
Researchers apply the latest analytical techniques to further our understanding of desert biocrusts.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Cellular Contamination Pathway for Heavy Elements Identified
Berkeley Lab scientists find that an iron-binding protein can transport actinides into cells.
Tuesday, September 01, 2015
New Mathematics Advances the Frontier of Macromolecular Imaging
Berkeley Lab’s M-TIP solves the reconstruction problem for fluctuation X-ray scattering.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Atomic View of Microtubules
Berkeley lab researchers achieve record 3.5 angstroms resolution and visualize action of a major microtubule-regulating protein.
Thursday, August 06, 2015
Unravelling the Mysteries of Carbonic Acid
Researchers have shown how gaseous carbon dioxide molecules are solvated by water to initiate the proton transfer chemistry that produces carbonic acid and bicarbonate.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Using Microbial Communities to Assess Environmental Contamination
First there were canaries in coal mines, now there are microbes at nuclear waste sites, oil spills and other contaminated environments.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Bringing Out the Best in X-ray Crystallography Data
“Function follows form” might have been written to describe proteins.
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Less Toxic Metabolites, More Chemical Product
The first dynamic regulatory system that prevents the build-up of toxic metabolites in engineered microbes has been reported.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
New Biochip Holds Great Promise for Quickly Triaging People After Radiation Exposure
Chip could lead to a much-needed way to quickly triage people after possible radiation exposure.
Friday, August 16, 2013
Berkeley Lab Confirms Thirdhand Smoke Causes DNA Damage
A study led by researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found for the first time that thirdhand smoke causes significant genetic damage in human cells.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Sugar for Biofuels: Making Do with More
Joint BioEnergy Institute researchers engineer plant cell walls to boost sugar yields for biofuels.
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Scientific News
Mass Spec Technology Drives Innovation Across the Biopharma Workflow
With greater resolving power, analytical speed, and accuracy, new mass spectrometry technology and techniques are infiltrating the biopharmaceuticals workflow.
One Step Closer to Precision Medicine for Chronic Lung Disease Sufferers
A study led by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and National Jewish Health, has provided evidence of links between SNPs and known COPD blood protein biomarkers.
Gene Regulation in Brain May Explain Repetitive Behaviors in Rett Syndrome Patients
The research could be a key step in developing treatments to eliminate symptoms that drastically impair the quality of life in Rett patients.
Heart Arrhythmia Caused by Mosaic of Mutant Cells
Researchers have solved the genetic mystery of an infant suffering from heart arrhythmia.
Iron Nanoparticles Make Immune Cells Attack Cancer
Researchers accidentally discover that nanoparticles invented for anemia treatment can trigger the immune system’s ability to destroy tumor cells.
Crispr Toolbox Expanded By Protein
Researchers have shown a newly discovered CRISPR protein has two distinct RNA cutting activities.
CES Score May Predict Response to Cancer Treatment
Researchers identify new type of biomarker that helps predict prognosis and response to several types of cancer treatment.
Uncovering Cancer’s ‘Invisibility Cloak’
Researchers discover cancer cell mechanism to become invisible to the body's immune system.
Genetic Impact of Endurance Training
Research has found that endurance training changes genetic activity in thousands of genes, giving rise to large number of altered RNA variants.
Treating Sepsis with Marine Mitochondria
Mitochondrial alternative oxidase from a marine animal combats bacterial sepsis.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!