Stabilization of swelling clays by Mg(OH)2. Changes in clay properties after addition of Mg-hydroxide

  • Xeidakis G
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Stabilization of the swelling clay structure is attempted by intercalation of Mg(OH)2 and the development of a brucite interlayer between the clay layers. The properties of the product obtained by applying the technique, formulated as described in a previous work, are considered here. The materials used were Wyoming bentonite (USA), Fuller's Earth (UK), kaolinite, illite, lignite, and silica gels. The Mg(OH)2-clay products were examined by the methylene blue dye test, X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD), differential thermal analysis (DTA), and derivative therraogravimetry analysis (DTGA). From the results obtained it is concluded that: the Mg-hydroxide is adsorbed by swelling clays both on their external and internal surface, whereas it is adsorbed on the external surface by non-swelling days. The internally adsorbed phase of Mg-hydroxide forms an ill-defined interlayer of brueite, retarding swelling, whereas the external phase covers the particles modifying drastically their surface properties, like the adsorption of the MB dye. The material produced after precipitation of Mg-hydroxide on swelling clays (smectites) did not re-expand on wetting or after giycolation. The adsorption of MB dye was also reduced by some 80-90%, due to coating effect, preventing the measurements of the external surface area of the clay by polar molecules. The principal forces involved in the process axe believed to be physical adsorption on the external surface, along with chemisorption and some chemical bonding, mostly in the internal surface. Cementation due to crystallization and, in the long term, some pozzolanic reactions take also place. Internal adsorption of the Mg-hydroxide is postulated to be in the form of positively charged mono- and/or small polymers and it is, chiefly, diffusion controlled. Since Mg-hydroxide is internally adsorbed by swelling clays, whereas Ca-hydroxide(lime) is not, and the (Mg, Ca)-clay aggregates are more stable than the Ca-clay or the Mg-one, the combination of the two hydroxides could give better results in soil stabilization than each hydroxide alone.

Author-supplied keywords

  • clay stabilization
  • clay swelling
  • hydroxy-mg-interlayers
  • methylene blue test
  • surface area

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  • G.S. Xeidakis

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