cod. 1001196

Academic year 2012/13
1° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Petrologia e petrografia (GEO/07)
Discipline delle scienze della terra e della natura
Type of training activity
47 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: -
course unit
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Learning objectives

Clays are extremely important materials in many sectors of industrial technology as additional (plastics, foodstuffs) or as basic constituents (fire-proof materials, ceramics), in environment protection in relation to their exchange capacity with aqueous solutions and chemicals introduced in the environment, in studies of slope stability. The aim of the course is to provide the basic information on the structural and chemical features of clay minerals and the principles for their identification through the main analytical methods


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Course unit content

1. Crystal structure and chemical composition of clay minerals
Crystal structure of clay minerals. Classification of clay minerals.
2. Analytical methods for clay mineral identification
X-ray diffraction. Identification of clay minerals through X-ray diffraction. Thermal analyses. Infrared spectra. Electron microscopy.
3. Origin of clays
Genetic processes. Geological settings. Environment-genetic process relations.
4. Chemical and Physical properties of clay minerals
Layer surfaces. The different states of water in clay minerals. Layer charge. Cationic and anionic exchange capacity. Morphology. Specific surface. Charge density. Double charge theory. PZP. Solubility.
5. Clays and weathering
Weathering processes. Weathering and climate. Weathering profiles of some rocks.
6. Clays and industrial technology
Fire-proof materials. Ceramics. Outlines for the analysis of ancient ceramic artefacts.
7. Clays and environment
Chemical contamination and environmental pollution. Nuclear waste disposal.
8. Clays and slope stability
Clay composition and slope stability. Chemical composition of some clay formation in Northern Apennines

Full programme

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Alietti A., Dell’Anna L., Lombardi G., Mattias P. (1979) – Struttura e composizione dei minerali argillosi. Estratto da Geol. Appl. E Idrogeol., Bari, vol. 14, 71-103
Velde B. (1992) – Introduction to clay minerals. Ed. Hapman & Hall, London, New York
Thorez J. (1976) – Practical identification of clay minerals. Ed. Lelotte
Meunier A. (2005) – Clays. Springer, Berlin
Vaughan D.J. & Wogelius R.A. (2000) – Environmental mineralogy. EMU Notes in Mineralogy vol. 2, Eotvos University Press

Teaching methods


Assessment methods and criteria

oral examination

Other information

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