Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Chemistry






Catechol, Mineralogical chemistry



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 90 leaves, ill. 28 cm.)


The effectiveness of catechol, an aromatic vic-diol, in dissolving silicate minerals was studied. A synthetic amorphous magnesium trisilicate, Mg₂Si₃O₈∙5H₂O, as well as the minerals olivine, sepiolite, diopside, augite, and enstatite were used to react with catechol in slightly acidic, basic, and neutral solutions. It was found, depending on the solvent used, that 33-52, 8-17, 14-30, 5-11, 3-6, and 0.5-1 % of the minerals dissolved, respectively.

The reaction with Mg₂Si₃0₈·5H₂0 resulted in the formation of crystals of magnesium tris (catecholato) siliconate nonahydrate Mg[Si(Cat)₃]∙9H₂0. Dehydration of the crystals at room temperature resulted in the loss of 6 moles of water to form a trihydrated complex, Mg[Si(Cat)₃]·3H₂0; further dehydration at 100°C gave an anhydrous complex, Mg[Si(Cat)₃]. By adding guanidine hydrochloride, CN₃H₆Cl, to the reaction mixture after filtering, crystals of guanidinium tris (catecholato) siliconate monohydrate, (CN₃H₆)₂[Si(Cat)₃]∙H₂0, were obtained. Infrared and nmr spectra, and analytical and x-ray powder diffraction data are presented. The possible structures of the magnesium salts of tris (catecholato) siliconate are also discussed.

The reaction of catechol with the minerals listed above gave a water soluble silicon-catechol complex, Si (Cat)₃⁼, which was isolated as (CN₃H₆)₂[Si(Cat)₃]·H₂0 by adding guanidine hydrochloride to the reaction mixture after filtering. The dissolution of these minerals by catechol to form Si(Cat)₃⁼ leads to the conclusion that aromatic vic-diols in nature may play a role in chemical weathering, in transport of silicon into rivers or seas, in soil development, in interconversion of minerals, and in accumulation of silica in plants.


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Portland State University. Department of Chemistry

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