Effect of Na-Hexametaphosphate on the Hydraulic Conductivity of Kaolinite-Sand Mixtures1

G. J. Levy, I. Shainberg, N. Alperovitch and A. J. van der Merwe
Institute of Soils and Water, Agricultural Research Organization P.O. Box 6, Bet Dagan 50250, Israel
Soil and Irrigation Research Institute, Private Bag X79 Pretoria 0001, Republic of South Africa
1Contribution from the Soil and Irrigation Research Institute, Private Bag X79, Pretoria 0001, Republic of South Africa.

Abstract: Mixtures of kaolinite clay and quartz sand were packed in columns and leached with NaCl-CaCl2 solutions of different concentrations (ranging from 0.5 M to distilled water) having sodium adsorption ratios (SAR) of 5, 10 and 20. Sodium hexametaphosphate (NaHMP) (10 g/m3) was added to each solution. Changes in the hydraulic conductivity (HC) and clay concentration in the effluent were measured, and the dispersion of the clay was evaluated. In the absence of NaHMP, using distilled water instead of 0.01 M solutions caused some reduction in the HC; the reduction became more severe as the SAR increased. At SAR 20 the HC dropped to 73% of that obtained when the 0.5 M salt solution was used. This reduction in HC was related to increases in the pH of the effluent and partial dispersion of the clay. On adding the NaHMP to the leaching solutions, a marked decrease in the HC and severe clay dispersion were observed at all SAR levels, if the kaolinite-sand mixtures were leached with dilute solutions and distilled water. The HC dropped to 40% of that obtained when leaching with 0.5 M salt solution, and dispersed clay in the effluent peaked at about 1% in the SAR 20 treatment following leaching with distilled water. The observed reduction in the HC of the kaolinite-sand mixture when NaHMP was added to the leaching solutions was due to the dispersive effect of NaHMP and sodium on the kaolinite. The polyanion NaHMP reduced the edge-to-face particle interactions, thereby enabling the diffuse double-layer repulsion forces to predominate. Following addition of the polyphosphate, the response of kaolinite to sodium and electrolyte concentration was similar to that reported in the literature for smectite.

Key Words: Dispersion • Hexametaphosphate • Hydraulic conductivity • Kaolinite • Sand • Sodium adsorption ratio

Clays and Clay Minerals; April 1991 v. 39; no. 2; p. 131-136; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1991.0390203
© 1991, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)