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Summary

Na-Mg and Na-Ca exchange isotherms were determined at electrolyte concentrations of 500, 50, 5 and 1 meq per litre for illite, vermiculite and montmorillonite and for three soils containing illite and montmorillonite. This enabled comparisons to be made of clay swelling, dispersion and soil hydraulic conductivity changes between the Na-Mg and Na-Ca systems at known SAR, ESP and electrolyte concentration.

Na-Mg montmoriUonite and a montmorillonitic soil behaved identically to the Na-Ca systems at the same ESP and electrolyte concentration: there was no specific effect. At the same SAR, the higher ESP in the Na-Mg system caused greater changes than in the Na-Ca systems. The Na-Mg vermiculite, illite, illitic soil and mixed illite-montmorillonitic soil showed greater changes than the Na-Ca systems at the same ESP, and there was a specific effect. At the same SAR, the higher ESP in all the Na-Mg systems apart from vermiculite increased the differences, but for vermiculite with a lower ESP, the differences were reduced. The lack of a specific effect for montmorillonite is probably related to the demixing of cations with the divalent ions concentrated on the non-swelling (internal) surfaces of the crystals.