The mystery of clay – Part 1: From the clay pit to

the microcosm

Clay minerals are regarded on account of, amongst other things, their high reactivity to changes in their milieu as some of the most peculiar phenomena of our inorganic world. This is related to the lack of clear structures, the absence of relatively large, crystal-chemically homogeneous areas and their fine-grained structure. From this comes their constant readiness to change, up to transformation.

The systematic analysis of the structures starts with the macroscopic level on surface exposure. Then increasingly differentiated methods are used to look at the microscopic, molecular and ultimately the elementary level. The fundamental blueprint is correlated with the function. Phenomena such as innercrystalline swelling, delamination, thixotropy and cation exchange capacity are explained. Basis is the duality of planar microparticles and electrical charges within the clay mineral-water-electrolyte system.

EurGeol Dr. rer. nat. Lutz Krakow, Dr. Krakow Rohstoffe GmbH

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