Abstract

Due to the great technological importance of the microstructure of kaolinite, characterizing its evolution during dry milling of kaolin and analyzing the microstructural information obtained from different methods were the main aims of this work. The microstructural alteration of kaolinite is evaluated by X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy methods, comparing the results obtained and analyzing the correlations between them. The Warren-Averbach and Voigt-function methods of X-ray diffraction microstructural analysis have been applied successfully to the study of the effects of two different, vibrating-cup dry-milling configurations in the microstructure of kaolinite from the reflections corresponding to (00l) diffracting planes. The crystallite-size estimates obtained from the two methods correlate well. Field emission scanning electron microscopy measurements of kaolinite particle thickness are in good agreement with the crystallite size estimated by the two methods. The Warren-Averbach method also provided estimates of the contribution to line broadening. Vibrating-cup milling has been proved to be a more efficient method of strain comminution of kaolinites than other milling techniques, reaching extensive microstructural degradation within seconds.

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