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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Isotopic Fractionation of Potassium by Diffusion in Methanol.

  • Author(s): Christensen, John N
  • Hofmann, Amy E
  • DePaolo, Donald J
  • et al.

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We present the results of experiments involving the isotopic fractionation by diffusion of K+ cations in methanol at 298 K along with supporting molecular dynamic simulations. The experiments, using glass Rayleigh fractionators filled with a methanol solution of KCl, constrain the ratio of the individual diffusivities of 41K and 39K (D 41K/D 39K) in methanol, and so the isotopic fractionation of K+ due to diffusion in methanol, to 0.9995 ± 0.0001. This isotopic fractionation is 25% of the fractionation resulting from K+ diffusion in water. This is consistent with published molecular dynamics simulations indicating greater hydrodynamic coupling between K+ ions and solvating methanol molecules compared to K+ ions and solvating water molecules.

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