A series of reduced-charge montmorillonites with cation exchange capacities of 89, 73, 49 and 29% of the starting mineral was prepared from a Li-saturated smectite (Kriva Palanka, Republic of Macedonia) by heating at 110, 130, 160 and 300°C for 24 h (samples KP110–KP300, respectively). Hydration properties of this series were investigated gravimetrically and by in situ XRD at different relative humidities (RHs). In the gravimetric experiments, higher water contents were observed for desorption than for sorption and hysteresis was present over the whole range of RHs for all the samples. The parent montmorillonite and the samples KP110 and KP130 retained similar amounts of water under the same conditions, thus showing that the decreased negative charge on the layers had minor effect on the water uptake at all investigated RHs. Significantly decreased water content was retained by KP160 while KP300 contained only 8% water at 100% RH. The d001 values of the parent montmorillonite and the samples KP110 and KP130 increased with RH, while those of KP160 and KP300 were independent of RH and remained at ~10.4 and ~9.6 Å, respectively.

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