Specificity of thermal stability and reactivity of two-dimensional layered Cu-Fe sulfide - Mg-based hydroxide compounds (valleriites)

30 May 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


We recently synthesized prospective new materials composed of alternating quasi-atomic sheets of brucite-type hydroxide (Mg,Fe)(OH)2 and CuFe1-xS2 sulfide (valleriites). Herein, their thermal behavior important for many potential applications has been studied in inert (Ar) and oxidative (20% O2) atmosphere using TG and DSC analysis and characterization with XRD, XPS, SEM and EDX. In Ar media, the processes are determined by dehydroxylation of the hydroxide layers forming MgO, with the temperature of the major endothermic maximum of the mass loss at 413 °C. Sulfide sheets start to degrade below 500 °C and melt nearby 800 °C, with bornite, chalcopyrite and troilite specified as the final products. In oxidative atmosphere, the exothermic reactions with the mass increase peaked at 345 and 495 °C correspond to a partial and major oxidation of Cu-Fe sulfide layers, respectively. Sulfur oxides captured in magnesium hydroxide layers to form MgSO4 compromised the layer integrity and promoted oxidation of the sulfide entities. The final products contained also minor MgO, Cu2MgO3, Fe3O4 and MgFe2O4 phases. Samples doped with Al, which decreases the content of Fe in hydroxide layers, show notably impeded decay of valleriite in argon but facilitated oxidation of Cu-Fe sulfides, while the impact of Li (it slightly increases the number of the Fe-OH sites) was less expressed. The mutual stabilization of the 2D hydroxide and sulfide layers upon heating in inert atmosphere but not in oxygen as compared with bulk brucite and chalcopyrite was suggested to explain by high thermal resistance across the stacked incommensurate sheets, which slows down the endothermic reactions and accelerates the exothermic oxidation; the high number of Fe atoms in the hydroxide sheets are expected to promote the phonon exchange and heat transfer between the layers.


two-dimensional layered composite
copper-iron sulfide
magnesium hydroxide
thermal analysis
thermal conductivity

Supplementary materials

Supplementary Materials
This Supplementary Materials contain additional XRD, XPS, SEM images, corresponding elemental maps and EDS analysis results.


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