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Infrared Spectroscopy in Clay Science

Schroeder, P.A. (2002) Infrared Spectroscopy in clay science: In CMS Workshop Lectures, Vol. 11, Teaching Clay Science, A. Rule and S. Guggenheim, eds., The Clay Mineral Society, Aurora, CO, 181-206.

Paul A. Schroeder
Paul A. Schroeder
Department of GeologyUniversity of GeorgiaAthens, GA 30602-2501 USA
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January 01, 2002


Infrared (IR) spectroscopy is a common technique with spectrometers capable of good-quality mid-IR absorption data (i.e., in the 400 to 4000 cm−1 range) available in most undergraduate chemistry teaching laboratories. Sample preparation is relatively simple and requires only KBr powder, a die press, and a balance. An understanding of the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and crystalline material is required to comprehend IR absorption phenomenon (and other vibrational spectroscopies). Also required, is a description of symmetry elements within molecular clusters and crystalline compounds.

Examination of the mid-IR absorption spectra and an explanation of the structural models of the minerals brucite, gibbsite, kaolinite (kaolin group), lizardite (serpentine group), talc, pyrophyllite, and clinochlore (chlorite group) provide a basis for understanding most of the constituent units of clay minerals. These units include the hydroxyl groups, tetrahedral silicate/aluminate anions, octahedral metal cations, and interlayer cations. O-H stretching modes common to most phyllosilicates lie in the spectral region of 3400 to 3750 cm−1. Metal-OH bending modes occur in the 600 to 950 cm−1 region. Si-O and Al-O stretching modes are found in the 700 to 1200 cm−1 range. Si-O and Al-O bending modes dominate the 150 to 600 cm−1 region.

Lattice vibrational modes in the far-IR range (33 to 333 cm−1) are related to the interlayer cation. The study of mid- and near-IR modes using reflectance techniques and spectrometers with environmental controls require specialized equipment. This instrumentation is becoming more common. Thus, IR spectroscopy allows students to better understand the structural components of clay minerals and how these

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Clay Minerals Society Workshop Lectures

Teaching clay science

Audrey C. Rule
Audrey C. Rule
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Stephen Guggenheim
Stephen Guggenheim
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Clay Minerals Society
ISBN electronic:
Publication date:
January 01, 2002




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