The influence of dissolved species and particle morphology on the electrokinetic behavior and the initial yield stress values of Cuban lateritic aqueous suspensions was studied. The lateritic samples were mixtures of serpentine and goethite in different relative proportions. The addition of silicate and Mg ionic species, which are normally found in natural waters used in industrial processes, affected the electrokinetic and flow behavior of the lateritic suspensions. Specific adsorption of these species on particle surfaces was shown by a shift of the isoelectric point and the maximum of the initial yield stress to more acidic pH (Si ionic species adsorption) and more basic pH (Mg ionic species adsorption), when compared to suspensions containing only non-adsorbing electrolytes. The initial yield-stress values determined in samples consisting entirely of goethite varied from sample to sample. A detailed crystallochemical characterization revealed that these changes were associated with the axial ratio (i.e. ratio of particle length to width) of the mineral particles. Goethite samples with larger particle size (smaller number of particles for a given solid concentration) and greater axial ratios presented initial yield-stress values greater than those goethites with smaller particle size and lower axial ratio.

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