Abstract

The Bertaut-Warren-Averbach (BWA) technique and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) were used to characterize the products of dry-ground pyrophyllite. Mean crystallite thickness and crystallite thickness distributions were measured for each sample using the BWA technique. Mean crystallite thickness decreases during the treatment with respect to grinding time and energy applied per unit mass. The BWA data were checked by HRTEM measurements and good fits were obtained for samples having small mean particle thicknesses. Samples with thicker particles could not be measured properly by HRTEM because the number of particles counted from images is statistically insufficient. The shape of the crystallite and the particle-size distribution were used to determine the mechanism of pyrophyllite particle degradation. Particles initially having a lognormal size distribution are first delaminated randomly, then some are delaminated preferentially, thereby producing polymodal thickness distributions. Finally all particles undergo delamination yielding a lognormal thickness distribution.

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