also known as Montmorillonite is an excellent binding agent
found in the natural state. Mined in the Kutch district in the
state of Gujrat, India has vast reserve of Sodium and Calcium
based Bentonite estimated to be 365 million tones
primary mineral in bentonite is called montmorillonite.
Montmorillonite is a layered, very 2-dimensional aluminum and
silicate mineral, which is usually thought to occur as a series
of "stacked cards" called platelets.
earth is characterised by a high moisture content of up to 40% .
Initial processing consisted of crushing and drying prior to
being milled to a fine powder. The air swept grinding mills used
meanth that ther was some removal of coarse sand particles.
- Almost all
fuller's earth extracted recently in Britain was converted to
bentonite. This involved the introduction of small amounts of
sodium carbonate (usually 2 to 4%) to the wet clay prior to
drying and grinding which converted the Ca-smectite to Na-smectite
by cation exchange.
- The total
value of fuller's earth sales in 2004 was estimated at about
£2.6 million, but less that £1 million in 2005. Indigenously
produced fuller's earth is no longer of economic importance in
Britain following the cessation of production.
- During the
last few years the global demand in volume terms has grown at a
rate of about 3%, per year. Exported bentonite is mainly used in
iron ore pelletizing (36%), in foundries (33%), in civil
engineering and environmental applications (21%), in drilling
(6%) and as pet litter material (4%). Bentonite consumption for
civil engineering and environmental applications shows a
significant increase over the last few years, in view of the
growing social awareness for environmental protection and
- The bulk
of the worldwide bentonite products are calcium bentonites,
sodium exchanged calcium bentonites, and mixtures of sodium,
calcium and magnesium bentonite. These bentonites in their
natural state are often used as desiccants, catalysts, vegetable
oil processing agents, and as foundry clays
being used as bonding material in preparation of molding sand
provides excellent thermal stability among other features,
thereby ensuring a good quality casting.Bentonite
can be used in cement, adhesives, ceramic bodies, cosmetics and
cat litter. Fuller's earth, an ancient dry cleaning substance,
is finely ground bentonite, typically used for purifying
transformer oil. Bentonite, in small percentages, is used as an
ingredient in commercially designed clay bodies and ceramic
glazes. Bentonite clay is also used in pyrotechnics to make end
plugs and rocket nozzles, and can also be used as a therapeutic
face pack for the treatment of acne/oily skin.
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