Chemical speciation of environmentally significant heavy metals with inorganic ligands part 1: The Hg2+- Cl-, OH-, CO32-, so42-, and PO 43- aqueous systems (IUPAC technical report)

Kipton J. Powell, Paul L. Brown, Robert H. Byrne, Tamás Gajda, Glenn Hefter, Staffan Sjöberg, Hans Wanner

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This document presents a critical evaluation of the equilibrium constants and reaction enthalpies for the complex formation reactions between aqueous Hg(II) and the common environmental inorganic ligands Cl-, OH -, CO32-, SO42-, and PO43-. The analysis used data from the IUPAC Stability Constants database, SC-Database, focusing particularly on values for 25°C and perchlorate media. Specific ion interaction theory (SIT) was applied to reliable data available for the ionic strength range Ic ≤ 3.0 mol dm-3. Recommended values of log10 β p,q,r° and the associated reaction enthalpies, Δ rHm°, valid at Im = 0 mol kg-1 and 25°C, were obtained by weighted linear regression using the SIT equations. Also reported are the equations and specific ion interaction coefficients required to calculate log10 βp,q,r values at higher ionic strengths and other temperatures. A similar analysis is reported for the reactions of H+ with CO32- and PO43-. Diagrams are presented to show the calculated distribution of Hg(II) amongst these inorganic ligands in model natural waters. Under typical environmental conditions, Hg(II) speciation is dominated by the formation of HgCl2(aq), Hg(OH)Cl(aq), and Hg(OH)2(aq).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-800
Number of pages62
JournalPure and Applied Chemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2005



  • Chemical speciation
  • Division V
  • Environmental
  • Heavy metals
  • Ligands
  • Stability constants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)

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