This study is mainly focusing on the effect of temperature and pH on the chemistry of Al(OH)3(s) using available thermodynamic data.
The calculations show that a doubling of the [H+] or a decrease in temperature by 15°C, approximately yields the same solubility increase of the various Al(OH)3(s) presented.
The relative concentration of aqueous aluminium hydrolysis complexes is also highly temperature dependent. At 25°C and pH 5, the calculated distribution of dissolved, inorganic aluminium hydroxides corresponds to about 36% of Al3+, 37 % of Al(OH)2+, 26 % of Al(OH)2+ and 1 % of Al(OH)30. At the same pH but at 0°C, about 84%, 13%, 2% and 0% are present as Al3+, Al(OH)2+, Al(OH)2+ and Al(OH)30, respectively. This temperature effect is of major importance as the hydroxide species are supposed to be the most toxic species to aquatic biota.
Literature reports on the equilibrium constants Al(OH)3(s), log*Ks, vary from about 8 to 11, a variation in the product by a factor of 1000. In natural soil/water systems the solubility products of crystalline and amorphous solid aluminium sources are unknown and the solubility may also be coupled to combined weathering/ion exchange processes. In addition substantial amount of aluminium may be present as organic complexes where aluminium by cation exchange reactions may enter the solution as monomeric inorganic species. Thus, if a low value for the equilibrium constants of Al(OH)3(s) is used as reference when calculating the degree of aluminium saturation, an apparent oversaturation will often be demonstrated. To estimate the degree of aluminium saturation in natural waters whould therefore only be of theoretical interest.