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Dispersion and Swellability of Ternary Surfactant Co-Modified Montmorillonites

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 2024

Wei Hua Yu
Zhijiang College, Zhejiang University of Technology, Shaoxing 312030, China Research Group for Advanced Materials & Sustainable Catalysis (AMSC), Breeding Base of State Key Laboratory of Green Chemistry Synthesis Technology, College of Chemical Engineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310032, China
Jia Hui Liu
Research Group for Advanced Materials & Sustainable Catalysis (AMSC), Breeding Base of State Key Laboratory of Green Chemistry Synthesis Technology, College of Chemical Engineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310032, China
Min Wang
Research Group for Advanced Materials & Sustainable Catalysis (AMSC), Breeding Base of State Key Laboratory of Green Chemistry Synthesis Technology, College of Chemical Engineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310032, China
Na Li
Tiantong Ruihong Technology Co., Ltd, Haining 314400, China
Jun Rui Zhang
Zhijiang College, Zhejiang University of Technology, Shaoxing 312030, China
Tian Hao Huang
Zhijiang College, Zhejiang University of Technology, Shaoxing 312030, China
Chun Hui Zhou*
Research Group for Advanced Materials & Sustainable Catalysis (AMSC), Breeding Base of State Key Laboratory of Green Chemistry Synthesis Technology, College of Chemical Engineering, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310032, China Engineering Research Center of Non-metallic Minerals of Zhejiang Province, Zhejiang Institute of Geology and Mineral Resource, Hangzhou 310007, China Qing Yang Institute for Industrial Minerals, You Hua, Qing Yang 242804 An Hui, China
*E-mail address of corresponding author:


Organo-montmorillonite (OMnt) has wide applications in paints, clay-polymer nanocomposites, biomaterials, etc. In most cases, the dispersibility and swellability of OMnt dictate the performance of OMnt in the target products. Previous studies have revealed that the properties can be improved when multiple organic species are co-introduced into the interlayer space of montmorillonite (Mnt). In the present study, single surfactant erucylamide (EA), dual-surfactants cetyltrimethyl ammonium bromide (CTAB) and octadecyltrimethyl ammonium chloride (OTAC), and ternary-surfactants EA, CTAB, and OTAC were co-introduced into Mnt by solution intercalation. The resulting OMnts were characterized by powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, thermogravimetry-differential thermogravimetry (TG-DTG), water contact-angle tests, scanning electronic microscopy (SEM), laser particle-size analysis, and swelling indices. Mnt co-modified by ternary CTAB, OTAC, and EA led to a large d001 value (4.20 nm), surface hydrophobicity with a contact angle of 95.6°, swellability (50 mL/g) with small average particle sizes (2.1−2.8 μm) in xylene, and >99% of the OMnt particles were kept as <5 μm in deionized water. The formation of EA-modified-Mnt was proposed according to hydrophobic affinity, hydrogen bonding, and van der Waals forces. The nanoplatelets of the CTA+, OTA+, and EA co-modified OMnts in xylene were assembled into a house-of-cards structure by face-to-edge and edge-to-edge associations. The electrostatic attractions, electrostatic and steric repulsions, and hydrophobic interactions were responsible for the good dispersibility of OMnt in xylene. The ternary surfactant co-modified OMnt with high dispersion and swellability will make OMnt better suited for real-world applications.

Copyright © Clay Minerals Society 2021

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