Abstract: Structural Fe2+ in montmorillonite is readily oxidized by contact with water, salt solutions or on mild heating. This is shown clearly by the Mössbauer spectra and is associated with a sharpening of the infrared absorption near 880 cm−1. It was inferred that this band comprises the Fe2+—OH—Al and Fe3+—OH—Al deformations. The rate at which oxidation occurs depends on the exchangeable cations. High acidity of the interlayers is conducive to oxidation, as is contact with Cu2+-containing solutions or concentrated H2O2 solutions.
The results show clearly that any chemical treatment of montmorillonite causes changes in the oxidation state of structural iron.