Reference Chlorite Characterization for Chlorite Identification in Soil Clays

R. Torrence Martin
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Abstract: Literature pertaining to differential thermal and X-ray diffraction of chlorite minerals is reviewed. Optical, DTA, and X-ray data for eleven chlorite samples of clinochlore, prochlorite, thuringite, corundophilite, and leuchtenbergite are given. The effect of particle size (105 to −1 µ) on DTA, X-ray diffraction, glycol retention, and cation exchange capacity are given for two thuringites, one clinochlore, and one prochlorite.

Identification of chlorite by DTA in a soil clay containing a mixture of minerals is improbable at the present time except under very favorable circumstances. However, for relatively pure chlorite samples, variations in chemical composition are reflected in the differential thermal curves. The largest change in the thermogram is produced by ferric iron which lowers the peak temperature from 720° C to 610° C. Differences in thermal behavior between low and high ferric iron chlorite species are maintained for any given particle size. Chlorite thermograms obtained by different investigators show much greater variation than the differences in thermograms for other clay minerals determined on different equipment.

X-ray diffraction can be used to positively identify chlorite in a soil clay, (a) by careful analysis of reflections at least as great as 14 Å, and (b) by the influence heat treatment (550° C for 30 minutes) has on the X-ray pattern. Heat treatment produces marked changes in the X-ray pattern of the finer particle size samples and the magnitude of the change effected is greater for high iron chlorites (thuringite) than for low iron chlorites (clinochlore and prochlorite). Olivine is not the recrystallization product for thuringite. The smallest size fractions show no tendency toward vermiculite or montmorillonoid.

Cation exchange capacity for silt size chlorites varies from 4 to 32 m.e./1OOgm., and for −2 µ chlorite particles from 30 to 47 m.e./1OOgm. Cation exchange capacities for −2 µ and −1 µ chlorites are essentially the same.

Ethylene glycol retention increases with decreasing particle size. Glycol retention for −2 µ chlorite samples varies from 25 to 40 mg. glycol/gm. clay. For −1 µ chlorite material, glycol retention is 2 to 4 times greater than for −2 µ material.

Clays and Clay Minerals; 1954 v. 3; no. 1; p. 117-145; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1954.0030113
© 1954, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)