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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Microwave Drying of Clays for X-ray Diffraction Analysis1


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 50 No. 3, p. 807-809
    Received: Aug 1, 1985

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  1. D. L. McCallister2



Clay specimens were dried in a microwave oven on glass slides for x-ray diffraction analysis and their patterns compared with those produced by the standard air-drying method. Drying a smectite clay at 50 or 100% power, while rapid, produced an irregular clay surface and thus a poor quality diffraction pattern. Drying at 10% power, on the other hand, gave results equivalent to air drying for hydrous mica, smectite, and kaolinite clays. Even fully expanded, glycerol treated smectite was unaffected. Equally acceptable results were found for clays fractionated from an Upshur Bt2 horizon (fine, mixed, mesic Typic Hapludalfs); a Dandridge Bw1 horizon (clayey-skeletal, mixed, mesic Lithic Ruptic Alfic Eutrochrepts); and a Westmoreland Bt2 horizon (fine-loamy, mixed, mesic Ultic Hapludalfs). Rapid microwave drying of highly expansible clays from a Sharpsburg A horizon (fine, montmorillonitic, mesic Typic Hapludalfs) produced severe cracking, and a poor diffraction pattern, however. Microwave drying is a rapid method of producing specimens for x-ray diffraction that does not affect any mineralogical properties visible in the diffractogram.

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