Swelling Pressures of Dilute Na-Montmorillonite Pastes1

B. P. Warkentin and R. K. Schofield
Department of Agricultural Physics, Macdonald College, McGill University, and Department of Agriculture, University of Oxford
1 Work done during tenure of a National Research Council of Canada Fellowship at the University of Oxford.

Abstract: Swelling pressures calculated from diffuse double-layer theory previously had been experimentally verified for Na-montmorillonite at clay concentrations above 10 percent, but published data at clay concentrations less than 5 percent consistently showed osmotic pressures much lower than the maximum of about 40 cm water calculated from theory. Swelling pressures of Na-montmorillonite in 4–5 percent orientated suspensions were therefore measured in an specially constructed osmometer in various solutions of NaCl up to 1.25 mN. The osmometer construction allowed solutions of desired concentration to be flushed continually across the membrane separating solution from clay. It was found that soluble impurities present in the clay decreased swelling pressures to about 1 cm of water. When these were removed during sample preparation, most efficiently by ultrafiltration through a dialysis membrane, swelling pressures measured were in satisfactory agreement with calculated values. The impurities were not identified chemically, but buffer curves of the solution toward HCl were determined.

Clays and Clay Minerals; 1958 v. 7; no. 1; p. 343-349; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1958.0070124
© 1958, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)