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Illuminating Aspects of Clay Mineral Structure and Chemistry Through Functional Properties of Clays

Hemzacek-Laukant J. (2002) Illuminating Aspects of Clay Mineral Structure and Chemistry through Functional Properties of Clays: In CMS Workshop Lectures, Vol. 11, Teaching Clay Science, A. Rule and S. Guggenheim, eds. The Clay Mineral Society, Aurora, CO, 207-223.

Jean Hemzacek Laukant
Jean Hemzacek Laukant
Department of Earth ScienceNortheastern Illinois University5500 N. St. LouisChicago, IL 60625, U. S. A
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January 01, 2002


Differences in surface chemistry and structures of clay minerals can be better visualized through comparison of specific physical properties that are related to those variations. This approach focuses on discerning the differences between clay mineral species by assessing the behaviors of different mineral surfaces in various chemical and physical environments. Properties evaluated are specifically those that are important to environmental and commercial applications of clay minerals, particularly for the kaolin minerals, bentonites (smectite), and palygorskite/sepiolite minerals (“hormite group”). In this way, clay mineralogy is understood at the theoretical level through a visual and tactile awareness of the related variation in behavior and physical properties of clay minerals.

Variation in the properties and behavior of clay materials qualitatively reflects the effects of clay mineral structure, composition, and surface activity. In the Exploration and Explanation Phases of these laboratory exercises, properties of clay materials are explored for comparison to clay mineral structures and surface charge distribution. Expansion Phase questions in these procedures encourage consideration of the mixed nature of clay mineralogy in natural or applied systems. Speculation and hypothesis about the behavior of mixed systems are based on the observed behavior of individual minerals. These laboratory exercises introduce test methods, concepts, and lines of inquiry on the applied properties of clays, offering insight to potential career opportunities in mining, engineering, and research sectors involving commercial clay mineral operations or natural systems rich in clay minerals.

Before starting this series of laboratories, a basic survey of the structural and chemical differences between categories of clay

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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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