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Evaluation of major clay deposits for potential industrial utilization in Vhembe District Municipality, Limpopo Province of South Africa

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dc.contributor.advisor Amponsah-Dacosta, F.
dc.contributor.advisor Mhlongo, Sphiwe Emmanuel
dc.contributor.author Akintola, George Oluwole
dc.date 2018
dc.date.accessioned 2018-06-05T18:20:53Z
dc.date.available 2018-06-05T18:20:53Z
dc.date.issued 2018-05-18
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11602/1128
dc.description MESMEG
dc.description Department of Mining and Environmental Geology
dc.description.abstract Vhembe District has several clay deposits which are traditionally use for clay products such as burnt bricks without taking into account the chemical and mineralogical characteristics of clay being used. The ever-increasing market demand for these clay products cannot be met with the traditional method of clay utilization due to the paucity of scientific information on properties of the clay in the area. Consequently, there is a need to gain better understanding of the characteristics of the clay in Vhembe District and to establish the suitability of the variety of clay for different purposes. The current study was undertaken to better understand the compositional relationship between the clay deposits and surrounding rocks present in the study area. It further aimed at characterizing the clay deposits on the basis of chemical, mineralogy, physical, mechanical, thermal and micro structural properties with a view of evaluating the clays for possible industrial use. A total of thirty-nine clay and rock samples were collected from thirteen different locations across the Vhembe District. Thirteen representative samples from each location were obtained after thorough mixing until homogenization was attained and then quartered for subsequent analyses. The mineralogical and chemical characteristics of the clay and rock samples were determined using XRD and XRF respectively. Thin-sections of the rock samples were prepared and examined under petrographic microscope to better understand the mineral assemblages present in the rocks. The thermal and micro structural properties of the clays were determined using DTA-TGA and SEM analyses and the physical properties which include colour, cation exchange capacity (CEC) and soil pH were assessed. The particle distribution and Atterberg limits tests of the clay samples were also conducted in order to establish their mechanical properties. The petrographic results showed that the clay deposits exhibited an intense weathering and sedimentation processes which incorporated detrital minerals from the surrounding rock units. The rock units which include basalt, granodiorite, gneiss and quartzofeldspathic gneiss were found to be differentiated from subalkaline and/or tholeiitic magmatic composition. Although the value of SiO2 content in rock samples was higher when compared with clay samples, it indicated an ongoing desilicication and allitization processes. The high values of chemical index of alteration (CIA), low values of K/Cs (<6200), Ce* normalized value and higher values of LILE enrichment in the clay deposits indicated oxidizing environments during period of deposition. v The mineralogical composition of the studied clayey deposits showed that smectite (8.25 - 29.32%), kaolinite (14.91 - 59.26%) and chlorite (5.94 -16.54%) were present as clay minerals although associated with other non-clay minerals such quartz, plagioclase, talc and geothite. The chemical composition results revealed high silica and alumina content in most studied clay samples. Their fluxing oxides which include K2O, Na2O, CaO, and MgO, varied slightly from 0.06% to 1.78% in abundance while the Fe2O3 and TiO2 contents in most samples averages at 9.2% and 1.3% respectively. The plasticity index of the studied deposits ranged from 9.50 to 62.00% while liquid limit ranged from 31.34 to 73.62%. The microanalysis using SEM indicated that the microstructure framework of most studied clay exhibited a porous skeleton structure owing to numerous tiny voids. The composite results of SEM and CEC analyses suggested their possible application in water filter and chemical fertilizer industries since they provided passage for water and soil cations transmission. The particle size distribution demonstrated that the studied soils have clayey silt texture with wide range coverage of the well graded and sorted particle sizes. Compressibility and plasticity properties were found to be high in Mukondeni, Mashamba-1, Mashamba-2 and Mashamba-3 clay samples. The thermal behavior of Mukondeni, Mashamba-1, Mashamba-2 and Mashamba-3 samples showed relatively high shrinkage (>9%). The high shrinkage percentage suggests the preponderance of smectite minerals. Other samples which are rich in kaolinite and chlorite minerals exhibited low shrinkage (<2%). The drying trends of the studied clay suggest their suitability for fast drying processes like soft and hard refractoriness, sanitary wares and ceramics. Empirical assessment of most studied clay showed their suitability for pottery-making and manufacturing of roofing tiles and masonry bricks. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship NRF en_US
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (xii, 115 leaves : color illustrations, color maps)
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights University of Venda
dc.subject Clay deposit en_US
dc.subject Chemical index alteration (CIA) en_US
dc.subject Desilicication en_US
dc.subject Allitization en_US
dc.subject Potential en_US
dc.subject Industrial utilization en_US
dc.subject Scientific evaluation en_US
dc.subject.ddc 549.60968257
dc.subject.lcsh Clay soils -- South Africa -- Limpopo
dc.subject.lcsh Clay minerals -- South Africa -- Limpopo
dc.subject.lcsh Clay -- South Africa -- Limpopo
dc.title Evaluation of major clay deposits for potential industrial utilization in Vhembe District Municipality, Limpopo Province of South Africa en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US


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