Aggregation of colloidal clay particles (Namontmorillonite) by CaCl2 and anionic polysaccharide (succinoglycan) in turbulent conditions was investigated using time-resolved size measurements by laser diffraction on diluted (50 mg l−1) and stirred suspensions. Excess of Ca2+ ions promotes coagulation of the clay, reducing interparticle repulsions, and allows adsorption of succinoglycan, inducing bridging flocculation. Growth/breakage cycles, characteristic of the turbulent conditions, cause the macromolecules to be incorporated in the innermost of the flocs, where the morphological units are shown by confocal microscopy to be the micrometric Ca-clay particles. Such incorporation results in an increased floc tensile strength, depending on the amount of macromolecules adsorbed, with a maximum at polysaccharide concentrations of 2 wt.% with respect to clay mass.

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