TMA and SEM characterization of the thermal dehydration of australian sedimentary opal

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Journal Article
Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, 2007, 88 (1), pp. 185 - 188
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The dehydration of samples of a Coober Pedy, South Australian sedimentary white opal, displaying play of colour, was investigated using TMA by heating the samples of the specimen to a range of temperatures between room temperature and 1000 at 200°C intervals followed by cooling to room temperature. Etched fracture surfaces of the samples were then examined using SEM. The samples showed the typical expansion at low temperature up to 210°C before contraction was observed. The contraction of the opals was ascribed to both sintering, supported by morphological change observed in the SEM micrographs, and dehydroxylation of the silanol groups producing silicon-oxygen-silicon bridges resulting in a more dense silica network. © Springer-Verlag 2007.
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