Clay minerals such as kaolinite, smectite, chlorite, micas are main components of raw materials of clay and formed in presence of water. A large number of clays used to form the different structure which completely depends on their mining source. They are known as hydrous phyllosilicate having silica, alumina and water with variable amount of inorganic ions like Mg2+, Na+, Ca2+ which are found either in interlayer space or on the planetary surface. Clay minerals are described by presence of two-dimensional sheets, tetrahedral (SiO4) and octahedral (Al2O3). There are different clay minerals which are categorized based on presence of tetrahedral and octahedral layer in their structure like kaolinite (1:1 of tetrahedral and octahedral layers), smectite group of clay minerals (2:1 of tetrahedral and octahedral layers) and chlorite (2:1:1 of tetrahedral, octahedral and octahedral layers). The particle size of clay minerals is <2microns which can be present in form of plastic in presence of water and solidified when dried. The small size and their distinctive crystal structure make clay minerals very special with their unique properties including high cation exchange capacity, swelling behavior, specific surface area, adsorption capacity, etc. which are described in this chapter. Due to all these unique properties, clay minerals are gaining interest in different fields.
Part of the book: Clay and Clay Minerals