Bromide-containing impurities were found to decrease the thermal stability of quaternary alkyl ammonium-modified layered silicates. Improved purification procedures completely removed bromide and led to a 20°C to >100°C increase in organic modified layered silicate thermal stability. Using mass spectrometry and thermal and electrochemical analysis, N,N-dimethyl-N,N-dioctadecyl quaternary ammonium-modified montmorillonite and fluorinated synthetic mica were found to degrade primarily through elimination and nucleophilic attack by these anions. The nature of residual bromides was identified and quantified, and the efficiency of removing these anions was found to be solvent dependent; sequential extraction, first ethanol then tetrahydrofuran, gave the best results. This exhaustive extraction method represents a viable alternative to the use of expensive, more thermally stable oniumion treatments for layered silicates.

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