- © 2008 American Mineralogist
The crystal structure of Al4B2O9, synthesized from Al(NO)3·9H2O and B(OH)3 via a sol-gel process, is studied and characterized by Rietveld refinements and grid search analyses combined with 11B and 27Al MAS NMR spectroscopy. The aluminum borate with a unit-cell composition of Al32B16O72 is closely related to the boralsilite (Al32B12Si4O74) structure with Si replaced by B and to mullite (Al4+2xSi2−2xO10−x). It crystallizes in the monoclinic space group C2/m, a = 14.8056(7) Å, b = 5.5413(2) Å, c = 15.0531(6) Å, β = 90.913(2)°, Z = 8 for Al4B2O9. The main structural units are isolated chains of edge-sharing AlO6-octahedra running parallel to b that is a characteristic feature of the mullite-type crystal structures. The octahedral chains are crosslinked by AlO4, AlO5, BO3, and BO4 groups with two B atoms and one O atom (O5′) disordered on interstitial positions. 27Al and 11B NMR studies confirm the presence of sixfold (octahedral), fivefold, and fourfold (tetrahedral) coordinated Al (sixfold:[fourfold + fivefold] = ~50%:50%) and of threefold and fourfold coordinated B (~80%:20%).