Separation of Swelling Clay Minerals by a Centrifugal Method

Darrell C. Bush, Ralph E. Jenkins and Stanley B. McCaleb
Core Laboratories, Inc., Dallas, Texas
Sun Oil Company, Richardson, Texas

Abstract: Total, slightly, and highly swelling clay minerals can be separated and measured by the test procedure described. Separations of synthetic mixtures of essentially pure natural sediments indicate that the measurements are accurate within ± 1% of the true values for samples containing < 20% swelling clays, and that < 1% quantities can be detected. Test results using < 5 micron material show that small grain size is not a problem in effective separation.

The test procedure is primarily a centrifuge separation based on the hydrated grain densities of the swelling clay minerals. The sample grains are pretreated with silicone (Dow 1107). The swelling clays are separated from rock and soil samples by centrifuging the sample-water slurry over a non-water-miscible heavy liquid. The sample is stirred violently at and above the water-heavy liquid interface during this centrifuging. The desired swelling clay fraction is recovered in the water medium and the denser minerals are collected in the heavy liquid. Water-soluble minerals are removed by filtering. Quantitative measurements are based on dry weights.

Application of this method to petroleum engineering and geology is stressed, but other disciplines will have use for the described procedure.

Clays and Clay Minerals; 1966 v. 14; no. 1; p. 407-418; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1966.0140135
© 1966, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)