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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Diatomite (diatomaceous earth, kiselguhr) is a sedimentary rock of marine or lacustrine deposition.
  • Diatomite can be considered as inert due to the chemical composition, which imply that diatomite does not affect taste, smell or colour.
  • Diatomite is often referred to as a diatomaceous earth, but this appellation may be inappropriate, especially for clays, even though they also are the result of trillions of defunct diatoms piling up.
  • Diatomaceous earth, also known as DE, TSS, diatomite, diahydro, kieselguhr, kieselgur and celite.
  • Diatomite is a powdery, non-metallic mineral composed of the fossilised skeletal remains of microscopic single-celled aquatic plants called diatoms.
  • Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae.

Process

  • Most diatomite deposits in the Philippines is almost always refined/ processed due to clay impurities, which reduces the good physical properties required by industrial users.
  • Diatomite can also be upgraded by leaching, a process by which a soluble metallic compound is removed from a mineral by selectively dissolving it in a suitable solvent like sulfuric acid.
  • Diatomite mining in the United States is all open pit, normally using some combination of bulldozers, scraper-carriers, power shovels, and trucks to remove overburden and the crude material.

Application

  • Diatomite is used as a filtration aid, as a mild abrasive, as a mechanical insecticide, as an absorbent for liquids, as cat litter, as an activator in blood clotting studies, and as a component of dynamite.
  • Diatomite has been widely used in sound and heat insulation as filters, abrasives and in the manufacture of explosives.
  • Diatomite as filter aid is used primarily to increase flow rate and remove visible suspended matters.

Technology

  • A microprobe Raman technique was used to characterize a selection of diatomite samples.
  • Focused Ion Beam (FIB) technology has been developed and 3D pore images of the pore system for diatomite and chalk have been obtained.
  • Diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFT), Raman spectroscopy of adsorbed Pyridine molecules (Py-Raman) and in situ Py-IR have been used to investigate the hydroxyl species and acid sites on diatomite surfaces.
  • The Carbon/Oxygen logging technique to determine vertical sweep in Belridge Diatomite in the Lost Hills Field.

Market

  • The United States is the largest producer and consumer of diatomite in the world.
  • On the basis of historical production figures, estimated U.S. diatomite-production capacity is currently about 800,000 metric tons per year (t/yr).
  • The USA and China continue to dominate world production, with future expansion in diatomite production likely to be concentrated in China.
  • Although the market for diatomite is estimated to remain stable in the short-term, the longer-term outlook may be less optimistic.
  • Diatomite pricing is very competitive and leading producers have traditionally discounted list prices to retain market share.

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