Abstract

The effects of reaction time (2 to 72 h) and NH (super +) 4 /Al (super 3+) molar ratio (1.6, 2.4 and 3.2) on the hydrothermal synthesis of ammonium-saponites are investigated. The gels are obtained by mixing powders, resulting in a stoichiometric composition, Mg 3 Si (sub 3.4) Al (sub 0.6) O 10 (OH) 2 , with aqueous ammonium solutions, with and without F, to result in initial NH 4 (super +) /Al (super 3+) molar ratios of 1.6, 2.4 and 3.2. The solid bulk products are characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray fluorescence (XRF) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) combined with energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis. The cation exchange capacity (CEC) is determined with an ammonia selective electrode and the pH of the water from the first washing is measured. Ammonium-saponite is formed rapidly within 16 h. A higher NH 4 (super +) /Al (super 3+) molar ratio and the presence of F facilitate the crystallization of saponite. Small metastable amounts of bayerite, Al(OH) 3 , are present at low NH 4 (super +) /Al (super 3+) molar ratios; after short reaction times, they disappear. During the first 4 h, the pH decreases rapidly, then drops slowly to a constant level of approximately 4.6 after 60 h. With increasing reaction time, saponite crystallites grow in the ab directions of the individual sheets with almost no stacking to thicker flakes. The NH 4 (super +) CEC of the solid products increases strongly within the first 24 h. A maximum of 53.3 meq/100 g is observed. The saponite yield increases from approximately 25% after 2 h to almost 100% after 72 h.

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