Does the methylene blue test give equally satisfactory results in all studied igneous rocks relative to the identification of swelling clay minerals?


The presence or the absence of swelling clay minerals in rocks, which are used in various construction applications, constitutes a determinant factor for their strength, and consequently, in their general behavior in various construction applications, as they have the ability to swell up to 400 times of their usual volume, causing failures to any application in which they participate. The aim of this study is to respond to the question of whether the empirical method of methylene blue yields equally safe and correct results in different types of igneous rocks and if not, which is the determining factor affecting the results. The answer to this complex question is feasible by investigating the microscopic structure and the mineralogy of the studied rocks, and particularly, using the content of specific phyllosilicate minerals which may be related or not with the methylene blue values. According to the results, the methylene blue test seems to work correctly for the intermediate (Group I) and mafic (Group II) examined rocks, but it seems to be wrong for the highly serpentinized ultramafic rocks (up to 70% of serpentine) (Group III).