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Clay Minerals

Journal of Fine Particle Science

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Volume 40, Issue 4


Determination of the cation exchange capacity of clays with copper complexes revisited

L. Ammann / F. Bergaya
  • CRMD-CNRS-Université d’Orléans, 1b, rue de la Férollerie, F-45071 Orléans Cedex 02, France
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/ G. Lagaly
Published Online: 2016-03-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1180/0009855054040182


The determination of the cation exchange capacity (CEC) of clays by exchange with the cationic copper complexes [Cu(en)2]2+ and [Cu(trien)]2+ is revisited. The procedures reported by Bergaya & Vayer (1997) and Meier & Kahr (1999) are modified slightly. The concentration of the copper complexes in the equilibrium solutions is measured by spectral photometry. Correct CEC values of the [Cu(en)2]2+ exchange are only obtained when a buffer (‘tris’, tris (hydroxymethyl) aminomethane, pH = 8) is added to the equilibrium solution after separation of the clay, because the molar extinction coefficient of this complex depends on the pH of the solution. A standard procedure is recommended as a reference method. In most cases, tris addition is not needed for the determination with [Cu(trien)]2+ cations. Nevertheless, tris addition is recommended in the standard procedure. Determination of CEC for 40 samples (kaolins, ‘common clays’, bentonites, montmorillonites and beidellite) shows a good agreement between measurements using [Cu(en)2]2+ and [Cu(trien)]2+ cations and with results by the ammonium acetate method.

Keywords: ammonium acetate method; bentonites; CEC; competitive adsorption; copper complexes

About the article

Received: 2004-06-15

Revised: 2004-09-09

Published Online: 2016-03-23

Published in Print: 2005-12-01

Citation Information: Clay Minerals, Volume 40, Issue 4, Pages 441–453, ISSN (Online) 1471-8030, ISSN (Print) 0009-8558, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1180/0009855054040182.

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