The Structural Status of Clay Systems

L. A. G. Aylmore and J. P. Quirk
Department of Agricultural Chemistry Waite Agricultural Research Institute, University of Adelaide

Abstract: Illite and montmorillonite have been compressed into cores under a pressure of 1200 atm. The structural status of these clays has been examined by means of detailed nitrogen adsorption-desorption isotherms and by means of electron micrographs of fracture surfaces of the clay cores. The subsequent swelling behavior of sodium and calcium clay cores has been analyzed in terms of the model derived from these measurements and the specific surface area of the clay. A generalized theory for the condensation of plate-shaped particles into domains has been proposed.

Measurements of the effect of electrolyte concentration and hydrostatic suction on the swelling of sodium- and calcium-saturated clay cores indicate that diffuse double layer theory may play a significant part in determining the swelling of monovalent clay systems but not divalent clay systems.

The magnitude of the film thicknesses apparently developed in solutions as concentrated as molar and 4 M, where the condition of ideal solutions required by diffuse double layer theory is certainly not fulfilled, seems to indicate that solution uptake is increased by a relaxation of structural strains within the clay matrix on lubrication by solutions. These strains may arise from the distortion of crystals in packing during the drying process. Such relaxations which appear to occur between p F 4 and 3 could initiate the development of a gel structure.

Clays and Clay Minerals; 1960 v. 9; no. 1; p. 104-130; DOI: 10.1346/CCMN.1960.0090107
© 1960, The Clay Minerals Society
Clay Minerals Society (www.clays.org)