Next Article in Journal
Geological, Mineralogical and Geochemical Aspects for Critical and Rare Metals in Greece
Next Article in Special Issue
A Study of the Effect of Djurliete, Bornite and Chalcopyrite during the Dissolution of Gold with a Solution of Ammonia-Cyanide
Previous Article in Journal
EDEEP—An Innovative Process for Improving the Safety of Mining Equipment
Previous Article in Special Issue
An Overview of Optimizing Strategies for Flotation Banks
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle

Transmission X-ray Microscopy—A New Tool in Clay Mineral Floccules Characterization

School of Chemistry, Physics and Mechanical Engineering, Queensland University of Technology, 2 George Street, GPO Box 2434, Brisbane Qld 4001, Australia
National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center, 101 Hsin-Ann Road, Hsinchu Science Park, Hsinchu 30076, Taiwan, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Minerals 2012, 2(4), 283-299;
Received: 11 July 2012 / Revised: 5 September 2012 / Accepted: 21 September 2012 / Published: 18 October 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mineral Processing)
PDF [674 KB, uploaded 19 October 2012]


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: Transmission X-ray Microscope; montmorillonite flocculation; montmorillonite gel; clay microstructure Transmission X-ray Microscope; montmorillonite flocculation; montmorillonite gel; clay microstructure

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Żbik, M.S.; Song, Y.-F.; Frost, R.L.; Wang, C.-C. Transmission X-ray Microscopy—A New Tool in Clay Mineral Floccules Characterization. Minerals 2012, 2, 283-299.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Minerals EISSN 2075-163X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top