Alteration of swellable clay minerals by acid activation

  • chair: Steudel, A. / Batenburg, L.F. / Fischer, H. / Weidler, P.G. / Emmerich, K. (2009)

  • place:

    Appl. Clay Sci.,  44 (1-2), 105-115


  • Date: 2009
  • Steudel, A. / Batenburg, L.F. / Fischer, H. / Weidler, P.G. / Emmerich, K. (2009): „Alteration of swellable clay minerals by acid activation“. In: Appl. Clay Sci.,  44 (1-2), 105-115


The bulk material of six dioctahedral and two trioctahedral swellable clay minerals was leached in H2SO4 and HCl at concentrations of 1.0, 5.0 and 10.0 M at 80 °C for several hours. Alteration of the clay mineral structures was dependent on the individual character of each mineral (chemical composition and initial particle size).

Acid attack dissolved the octahedral sheets by interlayer and edge attack. The number of substitutions by Mg or Fe in the octahedral sheet of the clay minerals promoted the dissolution of these layers and the formation of a silica phase.

The dissolution of the octahedral cations occurred in the following order: Mg > Fe > Al. The dioctahedral smectites were more stable than the trioctahedral smectites and vermiculites; the behavior of trioctahedral smectites against acid was similar to that of vermiculites. The acid activated smectites displayed still the ability to exchange cations.

The obtained materials had a lower layer charge, lower CEC and higher specific surface area than the crude materials but still adsorbed very large organic cations like dodecylammonium ions. The reaction with the acid caused particle splitting within the octahedral sheet. A model of dissolution and particle splitting is proposed.


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