Na/Ca montmorillonite : properties and uses

Odom, I. E.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1988
The physiochemical properties and industrial uses of the clay mineral montmorillonite are reviewed. Montmorillonite is the most abundant species of the smectite clay mineral group and is the predominant mineral composing bentonite deposits. The crystal structure, chemical composition, exchangeable ion type, and small crystal size are responsible for several unique properties, including a large chemically active surface area, a high cation exchange capacity, and interlamellar surfaces having unusual hydration characteristics. The type of exchangeable ion, sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), and/or magnesium (Mg), has a major influence on industrial and chemical uses of montmorillonite because of their hydration characteristics. Natural occurrences of Na mont¬morillonite in commercial quantities are geographically limited, but Ca-Mg montmorillonite deposits are known worldwide. Foundry, well drilling, pelletizing, and civil engineering constitute the major uses of montmorillonite, but the total array of uses exceeds that of any other mineral.
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