Mineral Adsorbents

Attapulgite

Attapulgite is a naturally occuring crystalline mineral that can be basically described as hydrous magnesium-aluminum silicate (see Palygorskite) with a special layer-chain lattice structure and lattice displacement. Such a lattice displacement causes crystals of this mineral to contain undetermined numbers of Na+, Ca+, Fe3+ and Al ions. Attapulgite crystals occur in form of needles, fibers or fibrous formations.

Attapulgite has outstanding colloidal properties, such as high dispersion, high temperature resistivity, salt and alkali resistance as well as high adsorption and bleaching capacities.

Besides, attapulgite possesses certain plastic and adhesive properties. The following is the ideal molecular formula of attapulgite: Mg5Si8O20(HO)2(OH2)4o4H2O.

By virtue of its crystal structure, this mineral falls in between layered and chained silicates. Attapulgite can look like a usual soil while sometimes it also occurs in form of compact aggregates found in sedimentary rocks and erosive layers. Attapulgite crystals are white, grayish or light gray-greenish with some bleakness. Attapulgite clay has a very fine particle size, it is lightweight and crispy and feels smooth and greasy to the touch.

Attapulgite has strong water absorption capacity. When wet, attapulgite exhibits its plastic and adhesive properties and does not form cracks or give much shrinkage at drying. When swelling in water, the mineral loses its form.

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