Natrophosphate, arctic mineral and nuclear waste phase: Structure refinements and chemical variability

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The crystal structures of natural (Mt. Koashva, Khibiny alkaline massif, Kola Peninsula, Russian Arctic) and synthetic (obtained from an aqueous solution of sodium phosphate and sodium fluoride (1:1) by evaporation at room temperature (RT)) natrophosphate, Na7(PO4)2F·19H2O, have been investigated using single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis. Natrophosphate and its synthetic analogue are cubic, Fd-3c, a = 27.6942(3) Å (natrophosphate at RT), a = 27.6241(4) Å (natrophosphate at 100 K), a = 28.1150(12) Å (synthetic analogue at RT), a = 27.9777(7) Å (synthetic analogue at 100 K). The crystal structure is based upon the super-octahedral [Na6(H2O)18F]5+ polycationic complexes consisting of six edge-linked Na6(OH2)5F octahedra sharing one common fluorine vertex. The A site is statistically occupied by Na and H2O with the prevalence of H2O with the refined occupancy factors O:Na equal to 0.53:0.47 for natrophosphate and 0.75:0.25 for its synthetic analogue. The co-ordination of the A site in synthetic natrophosphate is enlarged compared to the natural sample, which agrees well with its higher occupancy by H2O molecules. The general formula of natrophos-phates can be written as Na6+xHxF(PO4)2·(19 + x)H2O, where x = 0–1. The chemical variability of natrophosphate allows to explain the discrepancies in its solubility reported by different authors. The information-based parameters of structural complexity are equal to 3.713 bit/atom and 2109.177 bit/cell that allows to classify natrophosphate as a structurally very complex mineral.

Original languageEnglish
Article number186
Pages (from-to)186
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - 11 Feb 2021

Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Geology


  • Arctic mineralogy
  • Chemical variations
  • Natrophosphate
  • Solu-bility
  • Structural complexity
  • Structure refinement


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