Depending on the treatment, the crystallinity increase of vermiculite may be accompanied by the enhancement of the majority starting phase, and the crystallinity loss may be accompanied by the appearance or disappearance of interstratified phases. Starting vermiculites with high K+ content in the interlayer have more interstratified phases and lower water content and are less crystalline. The crystallinity loss of vermiculite and therefore the structural disorder increase are caused by the structural water loss. On the contrary, the crystallinity increase is produced by water gain. The vermiculite transformation by structural water loss occurs with temperature increase, vacuum, irradiation with microwaves or ultraviolet, and alcohol or acidic treatment. On the contrary, the transformation by water gain occurs in vermiculites treated with hydrogen peroxide and in those subjected to ionic metal exchange. These treatments provide evaluable information on the relationship between the structure of vermiculites and their industrial applications. The changes suffered by vermiculites due to the treatments applied could give light to ambiguities about their geological origin and hydrothermal and/or supergene processes.
Part of the book: Clay Science and Technology