Samples of muscovite and phlogopite of particle sizes varying from less than 5 µm to 500 µm were allowed to stand in distilled water and in several NaNO3 solutions. The modifications of their surface were determined by thermovolumetric measurements of the extra-water associated with the altered rim.
Phlogopite undergoes congruent dissolution due to protonic action at low pH and vermiculitization by sodium under other conditions. Muscovite ground and aged in water suffers potassium hydrolysis and silica dissolution both of which contribute to the accumulation of aluminium on the surface. The altered rim, which develops on basal surfaces as well as on the edges, has an extra-water content of about 1·2 H2O molecules per accumulated Al atom; the surface can be cleaned by a treatment at low pH.