Foreign ions can be incorporated into minerals during mineral growth and mineral–water interactions, resulting in solid phases with substitutional impurities in their structure. These “cocrystallization” processes control the mobility of minor elements in the environment and can be exploited as a remediation strategy to remove toxic metals from polluted waters and in the design of engineered barriers for the retention of metals, radionuclides, and other inorganic wastes generated by industry. The effectiveness of such remediation tools relies on thermodynamic and mechanistic factors that operate at different scales in space and time.

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