An organo-montmorillonite was heated under atmospheres of air, oxygen and nitrogen while following the changes in the basal spacing with a heating-oscillating x-ray diffractometer.

It has been shown that up to a temperature of about 180° C. a reversible expansion of the basal spacing takes place. With further heating this is followed by a very rapid collapse to a single organic layer between each two montmorillonite plates. Further heating reduces this to a system comprised of a monolayer of carbon between each two plates and then finally to a decrease in spacing to 9.8 Å, a fully collapsed montmorillonite.

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