Infrared Study of Water Sorption on Na-, Li-, Ca-, and Mg-Exchanged (SWy-1 and SAz-1) Montmorillonite

Weizong Xu1, Cliff T. Johnston1, Paul Parker1 and Stephen F. Agnew2
1 Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, Agronomy Department, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-1150, USA
2 CST4, MS J586, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545, USA
E-mail of corresponding author:

Abstract: An environmental infrared microbalance (EIRM) cell was used to study H2O sorption on two montmorillonite samples as a function of water content and type of exchangeable cation. The vibrational spectra showed that H2O sorbed to the clay at low-water content was strongly influenced by the exchangeable cation and by the close proximity to the clay surface. At water contents <6 H2O molecules per exchangeable cation, the H-O-H bending mode of H2O (ν2 mode) shifts to a lower frequency and is characterized by an increase in molar absorptivity. In contrast, the positions of the asymmetric and symmetric OH-stretching modes of sorbed water (ν1 and ν3 modes) shift to higher energies. These observations indicate that H2O molecules sorbed to the clay surface at low-water content are less hydrogen bonded than in bulk H2O. In addition, the vibrational-stretching and bending bands of the structural OH groups of the 2:1 layer are also strongly influenced by H2O content and type of exchangeable cation. By using the EIRM cell, the molar absorptivities of the structural OH-bending vibrations were measured as a function of H2O content. The position and molar absorptivity of the structural OH-bending bands at 920, 883, and 840 cm−1 are strongly influenced by H2O content and type of exchangeable cation. The molar absorptivity of the 920-cm−1 band, which is assigned to the AlAlOH group, decreased strongly at low-H2O content. This reduction in intensity is assigned to a dehydration-induced change in orientation of the structural OH groups resulting from the penetration of H2O molecules into siloxane ditrigonal cavities that are not associated with a net negative charge from isomorphous substitutions.

Key Words: Exchangeable Cation • FTIR • Hydration • Hysteresis • Smectite • Sorption • Water

Clays and Clay Minerals; February 2000 v. 48; no. 1; p. 120-131; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.2000.0480115
© 2000, The Clay Minerals Society
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