Abstract

Mixed hydroxy Al-Fe-montmorillonite complexes (5 mmol of Al+Fe per g of clay) were prepared at pH 5.0 by mixing different amounts of Al(NO 3 ) 3 and Fe(NO 3 ) 3 to give initial Fe/Al molar ratios (R) of 0.0.1, 0.25, 0.5, 1.0, 4.0, 10.0 or infinity. The effect of ageing on the interlayering, mineralogy, chemical composition, CEC and external surface area of the complexes was studied. The degree of interlayering of freshly prepared and aged complexes (up to 120 days at 50 degrees C) was always greater in the samples with R ranging from 0.5 to 4. Gibbsite and hematite (with traces of goethite) formed in the samples with R< or =1 and Rinfinity, respectively. No crystalline Fe oxide was detected by XRD analyses in the complexes with R ranging from 0.1 to 10, whereas no crystalline Al and Fe oxides were formed in the complexes at R = 4-10. However, some evidence suggests the possible formation of a microcrystalline Fe oxide/oxyhydroxide undetectable by XRD analyses in the complexes richer in Fe. The CEC and the surface area of the freshly prepared mixed hydroxy Al-Fe-montmorillonite complexes increased with increasing R. Large quantities of Al+Fe were solubilized by oxalate in the complexes with R> or =0.5, even after ageing for 120 days at 50 degrees C, indicating that interlayering of Al-Fe species at certain Fe/Al molar ratios was particularly stable.

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