Mineral Adsorbents -
Unique Properties of Clays

Clays or argillaceous rocks are one of the most abundant types of rocks that make up about 11% of the total volume of the earth's crust. They can be frequently encountered, especially during various digging and construction works, like laying out a foundation for a building. Clays are widely used as a raw material to manufacture ceramics, bricks, cement as well as a substrate and filler in rubber, paper, textile, medical substance processing etc.

Clays usually exhibit a very strong adsorption capability, and by virtue of this they are successfully used for rectification of oils, paints, wines, fabric bleaching and many other things. They also act as a natural environment-friendly barrier to fight the spreading of man-caused pollution.

This one particular property of argillaceous rocks without doubt of great scientific and practical significance because it allows to use clays for cheap and efficient rectification of various substances.

Marvellous properties of argillaceous rocks in many aspects are determined by their crystal chemistry and their high dispersity (i.e. a very small size of particles). Among all, Montmorillonite and Palygorskite can be perfect examples of this special crystal strucure, with the latter belonging to the mixed-layer type of argillaceous minerals (clays) with its extensible crystal lattice.

When hydrated, those minerals would allow water molecules to enter the gaps between basic layers of the material's crystal lattice and significantly extend them. Argillaceous rocks possess strong ion exchange capability, better described as interchange between certain ions on the surface and in the crystal lattice and those ions introduced with the solution.

Such properties of argillaceous rocks, along with their high dispersity and therefore extremely complicated surface, pave way for the very high level of adsorption capability that these materials exhibit, allowing them to actively absorb various chemical elements and compounds from solutions.

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