Effect of structural stress on the intercalation rate of kaolinite. Academic Article uri icon


  • Particle size in kaolinite intercalation showed an inverse reactivity trend compared with most chemical reactions: finer particles had lower reactivity and some of the fine particles cannot be intercalated. Although this phenomenon was noted in the early 1960s and several hypotheses have been reported, there is no widely accepted theory about the unusual particle size response in the intercalation. We propose that structural stress is a controlling factor in the intercalation and the stress contributes to the higher reactivity of the coarser particles. In this study, we checked the structural deformation spectroscopically and indirectly proved the structural stress hypothesis. A Georgia kaolinite was separated into nine size fractions and their intercalations by hydrazine monohydrate and potassium acetate were investigated with X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) analyses. The apical Si-O band of kaolinite at 1115 cm(-1) shifted to 1124 cm(-1) when the mineral was intercalated to 1.03 nm by hydrazine monohydrate, and its strong pleochroic properties became much weaker. Similar reduction in pleochroism was observed on the surface OH bands of kaolinite after intercalation. Both the bending vibrations of the inner OH group at 914 cm(-1) and of the surface OH group at 937 cm(-1) shifted to 903 cm(-1) after intercalation by hydrazine. A new band for the inner OH group appeared at 3611 cm(-1) during the deintercalation of the 1.03 nm hydrazine kaolinite complex. Pleochroism change in the apical Si-O band suggested the tetrahedra had increased tilt with respect to the (001) plane. The tilt of the Si-O apical bond could occur only if the octahedra had also undergone structural rearrangement during intercalation. These changes in the octahedral and tetrahedral sheets represent some change in the manner of compensation for the structural misfit of the tetrahedral sheet and octahedral sheet. As the lateral dimensions of a kaolinite particle increases, the cumulative degree of misfit increases. Intercalation breaks the hydrogen bonds between layers and allows for the structure to reduce the accumulated stress in some other manner. The reversed size effect on intercalation probably was not caused by crystallinity differences as reported in the literature, because the Hinckley and Lietard crystallinity indices of the four clay fractions were very close to each other. Impurities, such as dickite- or nacrite-like phases are not significant in the studied sample as suggested by the XRD and IR results, they are not the main reasons for the lower reactivity of the finer particles.

published proceedings

  • J Colloid Interface Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Deng, Y., White, G. N., & Dixon, J. B.

citation count

  • 82

complete list of authors

  • Deng, Youjun||White, G Norman||Dixon, Joe B

publication date

  • January 2002