Studies on the Size and Shape of Clay Particles in Aqueous Suspension1

Allan Kahn
Shell Development Company, Houston, Texas
1 Publication no. 147, Shell Development Company, Exploration and Production Research Division, Houston, Texas.

Abstract: The size and shape of clay particles in aqueous suspension have been determined by means of five experimental techniques—electro-optical birefringence, ultracentrifugation, viscometry, optical transmission and electron microscopy. Five clay minerals—montmorillonite, illite, hectorite, nontronite and attapulgite—each subdivided into five size fractions, were studied. The average particle dimensions in each fraction are tabulated.

An evaluation of the experimental techniques is presented. It is concluded that for a preliminary survey of the particle size and shape of clay minerals the technique of electron microscopy is best. However, once a model for the particles is obtained, a combination of the techniques of electro-optical birefringence and viscometry becomes more useful in characterizing the size and shape of the particles in suspension.

Clays and Clay Minerals; 1959 v. 6; no. 1; p. 220-236; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1957.0060117
© 1957, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)