Transmission X-ray microscopy : a new tool in clay mineral floccules characterization

Zbik, Marek S., Song, Yen-Fang, Frost, Ray L., & Wang, Chun-Chieh (2012) Transmission X-ray microscopy : a new tool in clay mineral floccules characterization. Minerals, 2(4), pp. 283-299.

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Effective flocculation and dewatering of mineral processing streams containing clays are microstructure dependent in clay-water systems. Initial clay flocculation is crucial in the design and for the development of a new methodology of gas exploitation. Microstructural engineering of clay aggregates using covalent cations and Keggin macromolecules have been monitored using the new state of the art Transmission X-ray Microscope (TXM) with 60 nm tomography resolution installed in a Taiwanese synchrotron. The 3-D reconstructions from TXM images show complex aggregation structures in montmorillonite aqueous suspensions after treatment with Na+, Ca2+ and Al13 Keggin macromolecules. Na-montmorillonite displays elongated, parallel, well-orientated and closed-void cellular networks, 0.5–3 μm in diameter. After treatment by covalent cations, the coagulated structure displays much smaller, randomly orientated and openly connected cells, 300–600 nm in diameter. The average distances measured between montmorillonite sheets was around 450 nm, which is less than half of the cell dimension measured in Na-montmorillonite. The most dramatic structural changes were observed after treatment by Al13 Keggin; aggregates then became arranged in compacted domains of a 300 nm average diameter composed of thick face-to-face oriented sheets, which forms porous aggregates with larger intra-aggregate open and connected voids.

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ID Code: 57919
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Transmission X-ray Microscope, montmorillonite flocculation, montmorillonite gel, clay microstructure
DOI: 10.3390/min2040283
ISSN: 2075-163X
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > CHEMICAL SCIENCE (030000) > PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY (INCL. STRUCTURAL) (030600) > Structural Chemistry and Spectroscopy (030606)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Research Centres > Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland
Copyright Statement: This article is an opena ccess article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (
Deposited On: 12 Mar 2013 01:47
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2013 23:42

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