The authors have systematically investigated the role of synthesis conditions upon the structure and morphology of xonotlite. Starting with a mechanochemically prepared, semicrystalline phase with Ca/Si=1, the authors have prepared a series of xonotlite samples hydrothermally, at temperatures between 200 and 250 degrees C. Analysis in each case was by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, environmental scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. The authors’ use of a much lower water/solid ratio has indirectly confirmed the ‘through solution’ mechanism of xonotlite formation, where silicate dissolution is a key precursor of xonotlite formation. Concerning the role of temperature, too low a temperature (~200 degrees C) fails to yield xonotlite or leads to increased number of structural defects in the silicate chains of xonotlite and too high a temperature (>250 degrees C) leads to degradation of the xonotlite structure, through leaching of interchain calcium. Synthesis duration meanwhile leads to increased silicate polymerisation due to diminishing of the defects in the silicate chains and more perfect crystal morphologies
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