Estimation of cation exchange capacity of montmorillonite by cationic surfactant adsorption

Chiougim Pan, Yun Hwei Shen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Cation exchange capacity (CEC) is one of the fundamental properties of clays and provides a means for estimating the general chemical properties of clays. The ammonium acetate saturation and sodium saturation methods are commonly used for measuring CEC. However, both methods are experimentally quite difficult and time consuming. This study investigates the feasibility of using cationic surfactant adsorption to determine the CEC of, an expandable clay, montmorillonite. Two laboratory grade montmorillonite samples with CEC of 71 (montmorillonite A) and 22 (montmorillonite B) mmol/100g respectively were used in this study. Experimental results indicate that benzyltriethyl ammonium (BTEA) ion with an effective number of CH2 groups in hydrocarbon chain of 5-7 should be used to provide reasonable estimations for monolayer capacity and CEC. The method has advantages compared to traditional methods in that it is simple and can easily be applied without the requirement for specialized equipment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-504
Number of pages8
JournalCommunications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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