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Synthesis of Lead Pyrophosphate, Pb2P2O7, in Water

  • Darren A. Lytle (a1), Colin White (a1) and Michael R. Schock (a1)

Abstract

Polyphosphates are used in drinking water to prevent the precipitation of cations such as calcium and iron. The possible negative impact of using polyphosphates is the undesirable complexation of lead that could result in elevated lead levels in consumers' tap water. Although the water industry has focused on complexation, lead polyphosphate solids such as lead pyrophosphate, Pb2P2O7, have been considered in other fields and not been shown to form in water. The ability to form lead pyrophosphate in water could have a potential impact on the strategies used to reduce lead levels in drinking water distribution systems. The objective of this work was to determine whether lead pyrophosphate could form under simulated potable drinking water conditions. Lead pyrophosphate was synthesized in water (pH 8.2, 10 mg C/L, 2.7 mg Cl2/L) after 13 days of aging. The formation of lead pyrophosphate was confirmed by X-ray diffraction and microscopy analysis. Synthesis did not require elevated temperatures or microwave assisted approaches used by past researchers. The findings suggest that lead (and possibly other metal) pyrophosphates could conceivably form in real drinking water systems, although much more work is necessary to determine the chemistry and kinetic boundaries.

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Corresponding author

Corresponding author. E-mail: lytle.darren@epa.gov

References

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