Abstract

Kaolin is found in deposits of economic concentration in the Jabal Al-Harad/Batn El-Ghoul area in southern Jordan. Ten representative kaolin samples were collected from the area and investigated for their mineralogical and chemical composition. Mineral characterization was carried using X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), thermogravimetrical analysis (TGA), differential thermal analysis (DTA), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). X-ray fluorescence (XRF) studies were conducted to determine the chemical composition of the kaolin deposits. Kaolinite was the predominant mineral, followed by quartz, with traces of illite-muscovite, Fe-bearing minerals (hematite), anatase and feldspar. The average chemical composition of the kaolin samples was 58.02 wt.% SiO2, 28.00% Al2O3, 1.48% Fe2O3, 1.26% TiO2 and 0.41% K2O (ignited basis). Dehydroxylation and mullitization temperatures (from DTA) were close to the theoretical values. Hexagonal booklets and stacks of kaolinite, as well as individual platelets, were present in the Jabal Al-Harad kaolin. Based on granulometric and descriptive mineralogical analyses, the mineral assemblages and kaolinite morphology, the Jabal Al-Harad kaolin deposit is thought to have originated from greatly weathered surfaces related to the Precambrian basement rocks. The kaolin was found to be suitable for manufacturing of common bricks, medium-fired bricks and sanitary ware, although a beneficiation process would be required; it could also be used in the refractory, white cement, paper and advanced ceramic industries.

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