Experiments on the Hydrothermal Formation of Calcium Zeolites

Ulrike Wirsching
Institut für Technische Geologie, Petrographie, und Mineralogie, Technische Universität Graz, Graz, Austria

Abstract: The crystallization of calcium zeolites was carried out in an open hydrothermal system at 100°–250°C, using reactants that in nature are known to alter to calcium zeolites and 0.1 N CaCl2, 0.01 N CaCl2, and 0.01 N CaCl2 + 0.01 N NaOH (1:1) solutions. The following calcium zeolites were identified by X-ray powder diffraction: Rhyolitic glass: heulandite, phillipsite, epistilbite, wairakite; Basaltic glass: phillipsite, scolecite, wairakite, levynite; Nepheline: thomsonite, wairakite, gismondine; Oligoclase: heulandite, phillipsite, wairakite.

Factors that influenced the type of zeolite formed were: Si/Al ratio of the starting material, calcium/alkali ratio of the starting material, calcium activity of the reacting solution, presence of an open alteration system, and temperature. The Si/Al ratio of the starting material was of special importance in that zeolites formed with Si/Al ratios similar to or smaller than that of the parent material. The calcium/alkali ratio of the starting material also influenced the kind of the early alteration products in the open system. As alteration progressed, the importance of the starting material decreased. The importance of the calcium activity of the reacting solution and the influence of the open system increased as alteration proceeded. Because of mass transfer during alteration in the open system, the calcium content of the minerals formed increased, while their Si/Al ratio decreased. Temperature was especially effective during prolonged alteration, in that the higher the alteration temperature the smaller was the H2O content of the alteration product. Initially, H2O-rich zeolites formed transitorily at higher temperatures.

Key Words: Calcium • Hydrothermal • Open system • Si/Al ratio • Synthesis • Volcanic glass • Zeolite

Clays and Clay Minerals; June 1981 v. 29; no. 3; p. 171-183; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1981.0290302
© 1981, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)