Microstructure, Interaction Mechanisms, and Stability of Binary Systems Containing Goethite and Kaolinite

S.Y. Wei, W.F. Tan, W. Zhao, Y.T. Yu, F. Liu, L.K. Koopal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Goethite and kaolinite are ubiquitous in natural environments. In soils they are often cemented together as a binary association, which has a significant influence on the structure and properties of soils. In this study, the mineralogy (using X-ray diffraction [XRD], thermal analyses, and infrared analysis), interactions, and stability of a goethite-kaolinite association (GKA) and a goethite-kaolinite mixture (GKM) were investigated. In GKA, goethite almost completely coated the surface of kaolinite, whereas for GKM the coating was partial. Infrared (IR) spectra showed that the vibrational frequencies of Fe-OH in GKM and GKA shifted to higher wave numbers and those of Al-OH, O-Al-O, Al-O-Si, and Fe-O shifted to lower wave numbers. Magic angle spinning nuclear magnetic resonance (MAS NMR) spectroscopy demonstrated that interactions between goethite and kaolinite increased the chemical shifts of Si-29 and Al-27. The shifts of both the IR and the MAS NMR parameters were larger for GKA than for GKM. In addition, the IR bands of Al-OH and the XRD peaks of goethite were weaker with GKA than with GKM. As expected, particle size distributions showed that GKA had a higher mechanical stability than GKM. The thermal stability of the kaolinite in GKA was higher than that of GKM, but that of goethite in GKA was lower than that in GKM. These results imply that: (i) kaolinite and goethite interact by electrostatic attraction, anion ligand exchange, surface coordination, and hydrogen bonds; (ii) the interaction strength was much stronger for GKA than for GKM; (iii) a cation exchange reaction and isomorphous substitution of Fe by Al for goethite occurred in GKA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-398
JournalSoil Science Society of America Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • iron-oxide
  • mossbauer-spectroscopy
  • organic-matter
  • clay-minerals
  • soil clays
  • mas-nmr
  • montmorillonite
  • hematite
  • crystallinity
  • precipitation

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