Minerals with the general formula Cu4(OH)6 were synthesized and their behaviour following treatment with chloride, nitrate and sulfate solutions was studied by powder XRD and SEM. Two types of transformation were found: (1) an ion-exchange reaction manifested by preservation of both the precursor’s morphology and structural type; (2) a dissolution-crystallization mechanism characterized by changes in the structural type and the morphology.
The results were considered by simultaneous application of the binary presentation of the structures, a bond valence approach and the ion-exchange ability. It was found that the structures of minerals with ion-exchange properties are built from similar layered structural unit of edge-shared and corner-shared Jahn-Teller square frameworks and different interstitial complexes of exchangeable ions, water molecules and cation-water groups. On the basis of their structural features the position of the investigated minerals in mineralogical classifications is also discussed.