Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
The present study examined the effects of dry grinding, using ball-milling, on the structure of reference well-crystallized (KGa-1) and poorly crystallized (KGa-2) kaolinite powders from Georgia. Grinding produced a strong structural alteration, mainly along the c axis, resulting in disorder and total degradation of the crystal structure of the kaolinite and the formation of an amorphous product. The surface area increased with grinding time, mainly in KGa-2 (maximum value 50.27 m2/g), a result associated with particle-size reduction. These particles became more agglomerated with grinding, and the surface area decreased after 30 min, as confirmed by scanning electron microscopy and particle-size-distribution analysis. There was a limit to particle-size reduction with grinding time. When grinding time was increased, the original endothermic differential thermal analysis (DTA) effects of dehydroxylation in both samples shifted to lower temperatures, decreased in intensity, then disappeared completely after 120 min of grinding. The temperature of the characteristic first exothermic effect shifted slightly to lower temperatures with grinding, although the DTA effects did not increase with grinding time in either kaolinite sample, at least up to 325 min. The amorphous, mechanically activated kaolinite converted into low-crystalline mullite nuclei at a lower temperature than did the unground samples, as deduced by thermal and X-ray observations. This effect was especially important for the KGa-2 sample. Grinding did not seem to influence the formation of silicon-aluminum spinel from kaolinite. The present results may explain why ground kaolinite samples prepared via different routes—e.g., with differences in grinding—behave differently during high-temperature transformations, as reported in the related literature.
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