Compositional controls on melting and dissolving a salt into a ternary melt
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We explore theoretically the controls on dissolution of salt A, in an undersaturated brine of salts A and B. We show that, as the concentration of B increases, the dissolution rate of A decreases, for brine of given temperature. We also show that there is a sharper decrease in dissolution rate with increasing concentration, for concentrations of B above a critical value, where B limits the equilibrium concentration. We explore the implications of the predictions for dissolution of KCl or NaCl, by a mixed brine of NaCl and KCl, a common reaction that may arise in dissolution of evaporites. We predict that, with mixed-composition brine, KCl crystals dissolve more rapidly than NaCl crystals, unless the (far-field) brine is nearly saturated in KCl. We also predict that the dissolution rate of these salts is largely independent of fluid temperature and is controlled by compositional diffusion.
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