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A workshop on Clays: New Perspectives, Challenges and Opportunities

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Final Report]

Corporate Author:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

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Clays are among the most abundant earth-forming minerals. They are formed as weathering products of parent rocks in the presence of water and comprise a family of hydrous, aluminum phyllosilicates. Clays are characterized by colloidal size 106-109 m, anisometric particles with extended specific surface area, and electrical charge imbalance usually negative due to isomorphous substitutions of cations in the basal layers. Clays have been used in pottery and brick manufacture for thousands of years. They are widely used in industrial products including ceramics, papermaking, paints, agricultural chemicals, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics Murray 1991, Murray 1999. The origin and formation of clays plays a key role in earth science, and is studied extensively in the context of global hydrological processes earth-atmosphere interactions and in the functioning of the rhizosphere and soil microbiome. Engineering properties and rheological behavior of clays are of great importance in applications from the construction industry to waste containment facilities, geoenvironmental remediation, nuclear power and extractive industries mining and hydrocarbons Grambow 2016, Ismadji et al. 2015, Bergaya and Lagaly 2006. Recent advances in multi-scale modeling, nano-scale characterization of materials, and advanced particle-scale visualization and probing techniques offer new capabilities to understand the complex behavior of clays, and to conceive new applications and products. We identified four distinct communities involved in applied research on clays with surprisingly little interaction among them based on a review of relevant workshops, conferences and symposiums held during last decade. Our proposal for a two day workshop on this topic was supported by the U.S. Army Research Office in 75034-EV-CF.

Subject Categories:

  • Geology, Geochemistry and Mineralogy
  • Soil Mechanics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]