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Effect of Milling on the Crystal Structures of Chrysotile and Other Serpentine Minerals

  • A. E. Charola (a1) and S. Z. Lewin (a1)


The most prominent peaks of chrysotile are the 002 and 004 reflections, and in dilute mixtures of chrysotile in talc they are the only peaks that can be detected. Milling of chrysotile markedly reduces these peak heights and areas, and generates a new, sharp peak at d = 2.52 A. Milling of other serpentine minerals also results in line broadening and integrated intensity decrease of the 002 and 004 lines; a weak d = 2.52 reflection is initially present and milling causes this to increase slightly in intensity, without any detectable line broadening. The variations in relative intensities of these peaks for different size-classified fractions of the several minerals after prolonged milling confirms that the d = 2.52 A reflection is due to a phase that is different from the starting material. Investigation of specimens held at various temperatures up to 1000°C shows that the consequences of milling cannot be attributed to local heating effects. It is confirmed that chrysotile is readily attacked and dissolved by 1 M HCl, whereas the other serpentine minerals are relatively inert to this reagent. In the case of extensively milled chrysotile, the acid treatment causes the 002 and 004 peaks to weaken and eventually disappear, but the d = 2.52 A peak remains unaffected.



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1. Bragg, L., Claringbull, G. F., and Taylor, W. H., “Crystal Structures of Minerals,” Cornell Univ. Press, 1965, pp. 282-8.
2. Deer, W. A., Howie, R. A., and Zussman, J., “Rock-Forming Minerals, Vol. 3, Sheet Silicates,” J. Wiley and Sons, N. Y., 1962, p. 173.
3. Joint Committee on Powder Diffraction Standards, “Selected Powder Diffraction Data for Minerals: Data Book,” JCPDS Publication DBM 1-23, 1601 Park Lane, Swarthmore, Pa., 1974.
4. Auleytner, J., “X-Ray Methods in the Study of Defects in Single Crystals,” Pergamon Press, 1967, pp. 44-8.
5. Whittaker, E. J. W., “The Structure of Chrysotile,” Acta Cryst., 6, 747 (1953).
6. Nagy, B. and Bates, T. F., “Stability of Chrysotile Asbestos,” Amer. Min., 37, 105S (1952); cf. also ibid., 41, 817 (1956).


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