Abstract

The alteration and transformation behaviour of montmorillonite (bentonite from Wyoming, MX-80) in low-salinity solutions (NaCl, CaCl2) in the presence of metallic Fe (powder and 8×4×1 mm plate) and magnetite powder was studied in batch experiments at 300°C to simulate the mineralogical and chemical reactions of clays in contact with steel in a nuclear waste repository. The evolutions of pH and solution concentrations were measured over a period of 9 months. The mineralogical and chemical evolution of the clays was studied by XRD, SEM, Transmission Mössbauer Spectroscopy and TEM (EDS, HR imaging and EELS). Dissolution of the dioctahedral smectite of the starting bentonite was observed, in favour of newly formed clays (chlorite and saponite), quartz, feldspars and zeolite. The formation of Fe-chlorite was triggered by contact with the metallic Fe plate and Fe-Mg-chlorite at distance from the Fe plate (>2 mm).

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