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AFM study of smectites in hybrid Langmuir-Blodgett films: saponite, Wyoming bentonite, hectorite, and Laponite

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The sizes and shapes of single clay mineral layers are difficult to determine though they are important parameters which determine the final properties of clay polymer nanocomposites and of ultrathin clay mineral films. To determine these sizes and shapes, hybrid monolayers of clay minerals (saponite, hectorite, Wyoming bentonite, and Laponite) and Rhodamine B octadecyl ester perchlorate (RhB18) were prepared using the Langmuir-Blodgett (LB) technique and studied with atomic force microscopy (AFM). The AFM images reveal monolayers of elementary clay mineral layers, which are randomly oriented and have a wide range of sizes. The layers have typical shapes: lath-like for hectorite, plates for Wyoming bentonite, a mixture of laths and plates for saponite, and aggregates of very small layers of Laponite. Two types of layers were present in the LB films of saponite, Wyoming bentonite, and hectorite in a 40:60 ratio:(1) single layers 0.96 nm thick hybridized with RhB18; and (2) particles consisting of two clay layers with an intercalated monomolecular layer of water molecules and hybridized with RhB18. The Laponite particles in the hybrid LB films consist mainly of aggregates of two and three single layers.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2009

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  • The JOURNAL publishes articles of interest to the international community of clay scientists, including but not limited to areas in mineralogy, crystallography, geology, geochemistry, sedimentology, soil science, agronomy, physical chemistry, colloid chemistry, ceramics, petroleum engineering, foundry engineering, and soil mechanics. Clays and Clay Minerals exists to disseminate to its worldwide readership the most recent developments in all of these aspects of clay materials. Manuscripts are welcome from all countries.

    Clays and Clay Minerals is the official publication of The Clay Minerals Society.

    The Editor-in-Chief is Professor Joseph W. Stucki

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