Hydroxy-interlayered minerals (HIMs) are typical of moderately acidic soils. Barnhisel and Bertsch (1989) defined the hydroxy-interlayered clay minerals as a solid-solution series between smectite, vermiculite and pedogenic or aluminous chlorite end-members. Their experimental data for the relationship between the decrease in cation exchange capacity (CEC) and the amount of Al fixed in the interlayers of smectites and vermiculites is reinterpreted using calculated structural, chemical and X-ray diffraction (XRD) evidence. The adsorbed Al ions are in a 6-fold coordination state: [Al(OH)x(H2O)y](3−x)+ with x+y = 6. The polymerization process occurs before saturation of the exchange sites by Al ions. Some of the adsorbed Al ions form polynuclear cations keeping a constant positive charge.
X-ray diffraction patterns of oriented preparations in the ethylene glycol-solvated state suggest that HIMs consist of randomly interstratified expandable and chlorite-like layers (17 and 14.2 Å). Chlorite-like layers result from the selective adsorption of Al complex ions in specific interlayer zones that behave similarly to Al-chlorite (donbassite-like) with incomplete (60%) ‘gibbsite-like’ sheets (chlorite60). Using this framework, HIM XRD patterns can be interpreted by comparison with calculated chlorite60-dismectite mixed-layer mineral patternss using the NEWMOD software.