Poorly Crystalline Aluminosilicate Clay Minerals

Authored by: James Harsh

Handbook of Soil Sciences Properties and Processes

Print publication date:  November  2011
Online publication date:  November  2011

Print ISBN: 9781439803059
eBook ISBN: 9781439803066
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter covers the poorly crystalline aluminosilicate materials, commonly known as allophane and imogolite. With dimensions generally less than 50 nm, allophane and imogolite are naturally occurring nanoparticles. Their solubility, high specific surface area, variable charge, and unique physical behavior impart special properties to soils that contain them. Although often associated with soils formed from volcanic material (Andisols), allophane and imogolite are found within a wide range of soil orders and derived from a variety of parent materials. Ferrihydrite, a poorly crystalline iron oxide that often occurs with allophane and imogolite, is covered elsewhere in this handbook. A timely review by Parfitt (2009) considered the role of allophane and imogolite in biogeochemical processes, Dahlgren et al. (2004) reviewed volcanic soils, and Floody et al. (2009) discussed industrial applications of allophane and other natural nanoclays.

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