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The smectitic minerals in a bentonite deposit from Melo (Uruguay)

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A B STR A C T: A nearly monomineralic 1.5 m thick bentonite bed sampled in Melo (Uruguay) appears to be a pure high-charge montmorillonite: [Si3.94Al0.06](Al1.40Fe3+ 0.11Ti0.02Mg0.49Mn0.01)O10 (OH)2Na0.01K0.08Ca0.18.However,contrasting swelling behaviours have been demonstrated by fitting the experimental X-ray diffraction patterns which were recorded on oriented preparations of the same sample in different saturation states. According to the expandability of the layers in the Ca-, K- and K-Ca-saturated (i.e. saturated first with K+ and subsequently with Ca2+) states, three 'layer types' were defined. Low-, intermediate-, and high-charge layers are fully, partly, and not expandable, respectively, after K-saturation. Collapse of high-charge layers is not reversible after subsequent Ca-saturation, probably because of tetrahedral substitutions. These three different layer types are segregated in two distinct randomly interstratified mixed-layer phases. Total surface area and cation exchange capacity are shown to depend on the interlayer cation composition.
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Keywords: BENTONITE; CHARGE; CLAY MINERALS; INTERSTRATIFICATION; LAYER; MIXED-LAYERED MINERALS; MONTMORILLONITE; SIMULATION; XRD.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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