Clay Dispersion and Hydraulic Conductivity of Clay-Sand Mixtures as Affected by the Addition of Various Anions1

H. Frenkel, G. J. Levy and M. V. Fey
Institute of Soils and Water, ARO, The Volcani Center, Israel
Department of Agronomy, University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
1 Contribution from the Department of Agronomy, University of Natal, P.O. Box 375, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Abstract: The effect of anions on clay dispersion and the hydraulic conductivity (HC) of clay-sand mixtures has received little attention. This study investigates the effect that adding small amounts of anions has on the dispersivity and HC of reference clays. Mixtures of 3 and 6 g 100 g-1 kaolinite, smectite, and illite with quartz sand were packed in columns. The columns were saturated with Ca and then leached with 1 molc m-3 of one of the following organic and inorganic Na salts: chloride, hydroxide, EDTA, silicate, citrate, formate, oxalate, hexametaphosphate, orthophosphate, tartrate, or humate. Changes in HC and clay concentration in the effluent were measured and clay dispersion was evaluated as a function of the various anions added. In the kaolinite clay-sand mixtures, a significant amount of clay was observed in the effluent for all anions tested, and the HC increased above its original value. The HC of smectite clay-sand mixtures decreased following the addition of the various anions. Dispersed clay appeared in the effluent only upon addition of citrate or hexametaphosphate. In the latter two cases, the HC started to increase once maximum clay concentration appeared in the effluent. Clay concentration in the effluent of smectite was one order of magnitude lower than that of kaolinite. Illite clay-sand mixtures showed dispersion behavior intermediate between smectite and kaolinite but behaved in the same way as kaolinite with respect to HC changes.

Key Words: Illite • Kaolinite • Organic anions • Smectite

Clays and Clay Minerals; October 1992 v. 40; no. 5; p. 515-521; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1992.0400504
© 1992, The Clay Minerals Society
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