Crystallochemistry of clay minerals and their properties

  • V. I. Osipov
  • E. M. Sergeev
Formation Of Clays And Their Engineering-Geological Properties


Experimental studies on a series of three-layer minerals (pyrophyllite, montmorillonite, hydromica, biotite) have shown the dependence of intercrystalline swelling in these minerals on the degree and localization of isomorphic substitutions in the crystals. With the increase of the magnitude of isomorphic substitutions, the degree of intercrystalline swelling will at first rise and then decline. It has also been shown that the increase of isomorphic substitutions in the tetrahedral layer raises the non-exchangeable K+ ion content in these minerals and lowers their swelling capacity.

Measurements of clay particle orientation in electrostatic field at different pH values of the medium indicate that the edges of clay mineral crystals have a positive charge in the acid medium and a negative charge in the alkaline medium, which confirms the views previously expressed by Van Olphen, Schofield and Samson. The data obtained suggest that in the acid medium the basal surfaces and the edges of clay mineral particles have an opposite double electric layer. These observations make it possible to explain a number of structural-mechanical features of clays and thus to get a more comprehensive understanding of the nature of their strength.


Clay Montmorillonite Clay Mineral Kaolinite Double Electric Layer 


Des études expérimentales sur une série de minéraux à trois couches (pyrophyllite, montmorillonite, hydromica, biotite) ont montré que le gonflement intercristallin, dans ces minéraux, dépend du degré et de la localisation des substitutions isomorphiques dans les cristaux. Quand l’importance des substitutions isomorphiques s’accroît, le degré du gonflement intercristallin commence par s’accroître et ensuite diminue. Il a été prouvé également que l’augmentation des substitutions isomorphiques dans la couche à tétraèdres augmente la quantité d’ions K+ non échangeables dans ces minéraux et diminue leur capacité de gonflement.

Des mesures d’orientation des particules d’argile dans un champ électrostatique, dans des milieux de différents pH, montrent que les arêtes des cristaux des minéraux argileux présentent une charge positive en milieu acide et une charge négative en milieu alcalin, ce qui confirme les idées déjà exprimées par Van Olphen, Schofield et Samson. Les résultats obtenus conduisent à penser qu’en milieu acide les surfaces de base et les arêtes des particules de minéraux argileux présentent des charges électriques opposées. Ces observations permettent d’expliquer de nombreux caractères structuraux et mécaniques des argiles et, par conséquent, d’acquérir une compréhension plus complète de la nature de leur solidité.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Engineering Geology 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. I. Osipov
    • 1
  • E. M. Sergeev
    • 1
  1. 1.USSR

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