The nitric-acid dissolution of chrysotile was investigated with the aim of revealing the effect of pH on its structure. Chrysotile becomes more soluble at lower pH, with the octahedral, brucite sheet more readily dissolved than the tetrahedral sheet. The dissolution of the brucite sheet increases the pH of the solvent, because of the release of OH groups along with the Mg2+ ions. At pH 2.00, the characteristic cylindrical fibre bundle structure of chrysotile is retained after dissolution, although the outside surface of each fibre becomes rough. Chrysotile remains fibrous upon dissolution at pH 1.08, but the fibres are no longer crystalline and their cylindrical structure collapses. The nitric-acid treatments result in an increase in both the specific surface area and the pore volume of chrysotile.

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