Bentonite from the ‘Bogovina’ coal mine in Serbia, was characterized. The influence of acid treatment on its composition, as well as mathematical descriptions of this influence are reported. The purpose of this work was to correlate the concentration of the acid used for the treatment with the resulting bentonite composition. X-ray diffraction (XRD), infrared spectroscopy and quantitative chemical analysis were employed to define the changes caused by acid treatment.

The contents of all the cations, except Si, decreased exponentially with increasing concentration of the HCl used for the treatment of the bentonite. This approach was tested on previously published data and was shown to be valid.

The basal reflections of smectite decreased gradually and eventually disappeared after intense treatment, while the other reflections remained in the XRD patterns of all the samples, but decreased slightly with increasing acid strength. In addition, the amount of X-ray amorphous matter formed increased rapidly with increasing acid concentration up to 4.5 M. With further increase in the acid strength, the amount of X-ray amorphous matter remained virtually constant.

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