Factors influencing the degree of intercalation (‘reactivity’) of kaolinite group minerals have been investigated using six kaolin minerals, with variable crystallinity and particle size. Tests were performed to measure the degree of intercalation with potassium acetate, formamide, dimethylsulphoxide and hydrazine.
These experiments indicate that intercalation degree depends on a number of factors, including particle size, degree of ordering, type of guest molecules, method of intercalation, and presence and types of impurities. A new method for determination of the degree of intercalation is proposed, which is not dependent on the intensity of complex reflections. The results indicate that formamide is the most sensitive reagent to distinguish differently ordered kaolin minerals whereas hydrazine appears as the most appropriate reagent to differentiate kaolin minerals from other 7 Å phases.