Interlamellar modification of smectite clays
Clay minerals, both natural and synthetic, have a wide range of applications. Smectite clays are not true insulators, their slight conductivity has been utilized by the paper industry in the development of mildly conducting paper. In particular, the synthetic hectorite clay, laponite, is employed to produce paper which is used in automated drawing offices where electro graphic printing is common. The primary objective of this thesis was to modify smectite clays, particularly laponite, to achieve enhanced conductivity. The primary objective was more readily achieved if the subsidiary objective of understanding the mechanism of conductivity was defined. The cyclic voltammograms of some cobalt complexes were studied in free solution and as clay modified electrodes to investigate the origin of electroactivity in clay modified electrodes. The electroactivity of clay modified electrodes prepared using our method can be attributed to ion pairs sorbed to the surface of the electrode, in excess of the cationic exchange capacity. However, some new observations were made concerning the co-ordination chemistry of the tri-2-pyridylamine complexes used which needed clarification. The a.c. conductivity of pressed discs of laponite RD was studied over the frequency range 12Hz- 100kHz using three electrode systems namely silver-loaded epoxy resin (paste), stainless-steel and aluminium. The a. c. conductivity of laponite consists of two components, reactive (minor) and ionic (major) which can be observed almost independently by utilizing the different electrode systems. When the temperature is increased the conductivity of laponite increases and the activation energy for conductivity can be calculated. Measurement of the conductivity of thin films of laponite RD in two crystal planes shows a degree of anisotropy in the a.c. conductivity. Powder X-ray diffraction and 119Sn Mossbauer spectroscopy studies have shown that attempts to intercalate some phenyltin compounds into laponite RD under ambient conditions result in the formation of tin(IV) oxide pillars. 119Sn Mossbauer data indicate that the order of effectiveness of conversion to pillars is in the order: Ph3SnCl > (Ph3Sn)2O, Ph2SnCl2 The organic product of the pillaring process was identified by 13C m.a.s.n.m.r. spectroscopy as trapped in the pillared lattice. This pillaring reaction is much more rapid when carried out in Teflon containers in a simple domestic microwave oven. These pillared clays are novel materials since the pillaring is achieved via neutral precursors rather than sacrificial reaction of the exchangeable cation. The pillaring reaction depends on electrophilic attack on the aryl tin bond by Brønsted acid sites within the clay. Two methods of interlamellar modification were identified which lead to enhanced conductivity of laponite, namely ion exchange and tin(IV) oxide pillaring. A monoionic potassium exchanged laponite shows a four fold increase in a.c. conductivity compared to sodium exchanged laponite RD. The increased conductivity is due to the appearence of an ionic component. The conductivity is independent of relative humidity and increases with temperature. Tin(IV) oxide pillared laponite RD samples show a significant increase in conductivity. Samples prepared from Ph2SnCl2 show an increase in excess of an order of magnitude. The conductivity of tin(IV) oxide pillared laponite samples is dominated by an ionic component.