Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol.142, No.2, 669-673, 2020
Silica Surface Charge Enhancement at Elevated Temperatures Revealed by Interfacial Water Signals
The structure of water adjacent to silica is sensitive to the degree of deprotonation of surface silanol groups. As a result, close inspection of signals originating from these water molecules can be used to reveal the surface charge density. We have used nonlinear vibrational spectroscopy of the water O-H stretching band over a temperature range of 10-75 degrees C to account for the increase in surface potential from deprotonation. We demonstrate that the behavior at the silica surface is a balance between increasing surface charge and a decreasing contribution of water molecules aligned by the surface charge. Together with a model that accounts for two different types of silanol sites, we use our data to report the changes in enthalpy and entropy for deprotonation at each site. This is the first experimental determination of these thermodynamic parameters for hydrated silanol groups at the silica surface, critical to a wide range of geochemical and technological applications.