Detection and Quantification of Expansive Clay Minerals in Geologically-Diverse Texas Aggregate Fines
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Expansive clay mineral contamination of road aggregate materials in Texas is a persistent problem. Hydrous layer silicate minerals - particularly smectites - in concretes are associated with decreased strength and durability in Portland cement and asphalt concretes. The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) and Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) evaluated the methylene blue adsorption test for its potential to identify and estimate quantities of expansive clays in aggregate stockpiles. Clay mineral quantification was completed for 27 geologically-diverse aggregate materials from Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD) of separated clays on glass was conducted, and NEWMOD was utilized to model the resulting diffraction patterns. Methylene blue adsorption (MBA) and cation exchange capacity (CEC) of clay fractions (< 2µm) and -40 mesh screenings (< 400 µm) were determined for most aggregates. Many of the aggregates exhibited significant quantities of expansive clay minerals such as smectite, which are linked to deleterious performance properties in concretes. While the majority of aggregates were derived from crushed limestone or calcareous river gravel parent materials, severalexhibited uncommon origins and unusual clay mineralogy. Due to the relatively low number of aggregates tested and diverse geological origins of the different aggregates,it proved difficult to formalize any conclusions abouttrendsbetweenthedifferent aggregate performance properties.
Subjectquantitative X-ray diffraction (qXRD) analysis, methylene blue adsorption, cation exchange capacity, infrared spectroscopy (FTIR-ATR), aggregates, Texas, mineralogy, expansive clay minerals
Clay mineral quantification
Russell, George 1983- (2012). Detection and Quantification of Expansive Clay Minerals in Geologically-Diverse Texas Aggregate Fines. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from