The materials properties and physical phenomena exhibited by layered silicate clays and clay intercalation compounds, a subgroup of the general class of layered solids, are reviewed. The importance of layer rigidity is emphasized. Clays are compared and contrasted with the more familiar layered solids such as graphite and dichalcogenides. Some of the unusual structural features of clays including interstratification, swelling, and the lack of staging are discussed and explained qualitatively and quantitatively. Novel magnetic phenomena such as that associated with a disordered two-dimensional kagomé antiferromagnet formed in synthetic clays and the effect of co-intercalated water on the crystal field–induced magnetic ordering in natural clays are described and analyzed. The vibrational excitations in clays are addressed in terms of lattice dynamical models for the phonon dispersion curves. The theoretical models are compared with experimental measurements including neutron scattering and Raman spectroscopy.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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