Polydisperse fractal aggregate formation in clay mineral and iron oxide suspensions, pH and ionic strength dependence

E. Tombácz, C. Csanaky, E. Illés

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70 Citations (Scopus)


pH- and ionic-strength-dependent aggregation of permanently and conditionally charged clay mineral (montmorillonite) and iron oxide (magnetic) particles was investigated by means of dynamic light scattering and rheology. An indifferent electrolyte (NaCl) was used. The surface charging of solids was determined by acid base titration. The point of zero charge (PZC) of magnetite seemed to be at pH 8.0 ± 0.1. The permanent negative charges on the basal plane of montmorillonite influence the interfacial distribution of H+ and Na+ ions. The pH dependence of the electrophoretic mobility showed directly the dominance of negative charges on montmorillonite lamellae independently of pH, while for magnetite the sign of the mobility reversed at pH ∼ 8.0. Montmorillonite particles formed stable suspensions; coagulation did not take place below 35 mM 1:1 electrolyte independently of pH. The aggregation of magnetite sol becomes significant near the pH of the PZC even at low ionic strength. Colloidal stability in composite systems was investigated at pH ∼ 4, where oxide and clay mineral particles are oppositely charged. At the lowest NaCl concentrations (1, 5 mM) the mixed systems remained stable and aggregation of oppositely charged particles could not be observed at all. Heterocoagulation of dissimilar particles needed a definite amount of dissolved electrolytes (about 8 mM). Mixed clay mineral and oxide systems are more sensitive to electrolyte under acidic conditions than those separately. Rheological investigation of the mixed clay mineral-oxide suspensions at pH ∼ 4 provided proof for the absence of attractive particle interaction at low ionic strength (2 mM). A physical network of oppositely charged particles could form only at higher salt concentration, for example, in the presence of 10 mM NaCl. The yield value of plastic systems showed a significant maximum at 1:15 magnetite/montmorillonite mass ratio.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-492
Number of pages9
JournalColloid and Polymer Science
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Heterocoagulation
  • Homocoagulation
  • Magnetite
  • Montmorillonite
  • Surface charging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry

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