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The application of thermogravimetry to the characterization of kaolinite and smectite clay minerals is presented. Examples of differing crystallinity of kaolinites are used. In the study of the smectite clay minerals both dioctahedral and trioctahedral members are included. A unique industrial example of the use of thermogravimetry to follow the cleaning of a bentonite specimen and then its conversion to an organo-clay product, which is used as a component of drilling fluids in the petroleum industry, is demonstrated. Several hectorite specimens representing both raw carbonate bearing clay mineral ores and processed hectorite (carbonate-cleaned) specimens were analyzed by computerized thermogravimetry.
thermogravimetry, clay minerals, kaolinite, Black Hills bentonite, hectorite, oil drilling fluid, organo-clay
Professor of chemistry, Berry College, Rome, GA