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Natural sepiolite and synthetic loughlinite, prepared from sepiolite by treatment with an aqueous solution of NaOH, were immersed in a 1.0 N aqueous solution of Co(NO3)2 for about 30 hr at 20°C. Local structure around the Co ions was studied by X-ray powder diffraction and two types of X-ray absorption experiments—extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) and X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES). The results can be explained well by a model in which Co ions substituted for Mg or Na ions in octahedral sites in the sepiolite or the synthetic loughlinite.

The d(110) values and Mg, Na, and Co contents of the sepiolite and synthetic loughlinite treated with aqueous NaOH and Co(N03)2 solutions support this substitution. In synthetic loughlinite, about 15% of octahedral sites were substituted by Co after a 30-hr treatment, whereas only about 4% of the sites in the natural sepiolite were substituted.

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