Abstract: Dispersions of Laponite clay in various electrolyte solutions have been studied. In the total absence of electrolyte the synthetic clay forms a sol at 2% concentration. All cations cause gelling and flocculation.
It has been found that for any given clay concentration the yield value of the dispersions at equivalent flocculation level is the same for all electrolyte solutions, making it possible to study all types of dispersions at a standard level of flocculation.
At standard level of flocculation, the yield values have been found to follow exponential relationships with clay concentration with a break in the curves occurring at about 1·6% clay concentration. It is postulated that the break in the yield value curve occurs when enough clay is present to form a card-house structure. The plastic viscosities show a linear relationship with concentration and indicate high effective dispersed volume fractions at low clay concentrations.
When comparing the flocculating effects of different cations at fixed clay concentration, an empirical relationship has been found between cation concentration giving standard flocculation level, cation valency and radius.