Viscosity of mixed clay suspensions

CIM Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2012

Z. A. Zhou, O. Worku, L. X. Wang, Z. Xu, and J. H. Masliyah

The viscosity of concentrated kaolinite or illite clay in aqueous suspensions was measured in the presence and absence of a small amount of montmorillonite (<1 wt%). To avoid solids settling and to increase the sensitivity of the suspension viscosity measurements, solids concentrations higher than 38 wt% were used. The pH of the suspensions and the concentration of calcium and bicarbonate ions were found to significantly impact the viscosity of the clay suspensions. The results showed a significant increase in the viscosity of kaolinite suspensions with the addition of as low as 0.25 wt% of montmorillonite on a solids weight basis. In addition to illustrating the role of water chemistry in modifying slurry rheological properties, our study demonstrated that viscosity measurement could be a simple, yet sensitive technique for determining the content of smectite clays, such as montmorillonite, in a complex mix of various types of clay.
Mots Clés: Viscosity, Kaolinite, Illite, Montmorillonite, Clay, Oil sands