The solvation radius of silicate melts based on the solubility of noble gases and scaled particle theory
The existing solubility data on noble gases in high-temperature silicate melts have been analyzed in terms of Scaling Particle Theory coupled with an ab initio assessment of the electronic, dispersive, and repulsive energy terms based on the Polarized Continuum Model (PCM). After a preliminary analysis of the role of the contracted Gaussian basis sets and theory level in reproducing appropriate static dipole polarizabilities in a vacuum, we have shown that the procedure returns Henry's law constants consistent with the values experimentally observed in water and benzene at T = 25 °C and P = 1 bar for the first four elements of the series. The static dielectric constant (∊) of the investigated silicate melts and its optical counterpart (∊∞) were then resolved through the application of a modified form of the Clausius-Mossotti relation. Argon has been adopted as a probe to depict its high-T solubility in melts through an appropriate choice of the solvent diameter σs, along the guidelines already used in the past for simple media such as water or benzene. The σs obtained was consistent with a simple functional form based on the molecular volume of the solvent. The solubility calculations were then extended to He, Ne, and Kr, whose dispersive and repulsive coefficients are available from theory and we have shown that their ab initio Henry's constants at high T reproduce the observed increase with the static polarizability of the series element with reasonable accuracy. At room temperature (T = 25 °C) the calculated Henry's constants of He, Ne, Ar, and Kr in the various silicate media predict higher solubilities than simple extrapolations (i.e., Arrhenius plots) based on high-T experiments and give rise to smooth trends not appreciably affected by the static polarizabilities of the solutes. The present investigation opens new perspectives on a wider application of PCM theory which can be extended to materials of great industrial interest at the core of metallurgical processes, ceramurgy, and the glass industry.