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Structure of Montmorillonite

Above is the schematic figure showing the structure of the crystal lattice of Montmorillonite.

Each layer is made up of two outer silica sheets composed of SiO4 -tetrahedrons and a central sheets comprised of Aluminium cations surrounded in octahedral from by oxide anions of silicate molecules.

By introducing trivalent Aluminium and iron ions into the central sheet, the interlayer space is provided by the presence of cations which are capable of exchange and can be easily replaced by the others of stronger binding affinity. Crude clays consist of calcium ions as well and such Bentonites are known as calcium Bentonite.



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