Interactions of ammonium smectite with low-molecular-weight carboxylic acids

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The percolation of water through waste landfill sites produces leachates with large amounts of pollutants. Clay barriers are often used to limit soil and underground water pollution. A better understanding of the interaction between ammonium smectite and carboxylic acids would contribute significantly to our understanding of such systems. The SWy-2 (Wyoming smectite) was exchanged with NH4+ and then batched with carboxylic acids (acetic, formic, chloroacetic and oxalic) in concentrations between 0.01 M and 1 M. The solid phases obtained were analysed chemically and characterized by infrared absorption spectroscopy (IR) and powder X-ray diffraction (XRD). Ionic chromatography was used for the quantitative measurement of ammonium ions in the solution after the interaction. For the four acids, the interaction was characterized by a cationic exchange of NH4+ to H3O+. A partial exchange to Al3+ due to a partial dissolution of the sample in strong acidic medium was observed with chloroacetic and oxalic acids for which adsorption of molecules on the clay sample occurs, mainly through H-bonding with the cation. Moreover, the intercalation of oxalic acid in the interlayer space was highlighted.
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