Mineral Adsorbents

Palygorskite

Palygorskite (syn.:Palygorskit, Polygorskit[e], Attapulgite etc.) acquired its name after Palygorsk area of the large Perm mountain range (Russia) where it had been discovered in 1860. This mineral is also known by more metaphorical names, such as 'rock skin' and 'rock cork.'

Palygorskite is basically an aqueous magnesium aluminum silicate mineral, and its simplified chemical formula looks like Mg5H2[Si8O22](H2O)6*2(H2O).

By its crystal structure, it holds a place between so called ribbon silicates and layered silicates. Palygorskite aggregates have mixed fiber and leathery structure and are typically encountered in form of crusts. Monoclinic palygorskite crystals have the apprearance of thin fibers of white, light-gray or sometimes pinky-white/yellow-white color.

Just like montmorillonite, palygorskite belongs to the class of high-dispersity minerals, having complex specific surface and ability to engage in cationic exchange. Unlike montmorillonite, palygorskite's crystal chemistry predefines the presence of ceolite canals that allow to capture and detain small-sized molecules of substances like water, ammonia etc.

Mineralogical hardness index of palygorskite is 2-2.5, after annealing hardness tends to increase significantly. Specific weight: 2,000-2,300 kg/sq.m. When heated palygorskite gradually loses its water.

Palygorskite is mainly formed in the process of rock weathering in areas rich in magnesium deposits. It is encountered in sedimentary rocks in form of nested formations, thin layers and seldom as large stand-alone aggregates.

Palygorskite clays have a very wide range of applications and are used as:

  • adsorbing agents for rectification and settling of liquids (wine, juice etc.) in wine-making and foods industries
  • adsording agents for fat and oil rectification
  • substrate and filler for pharmaceutical purposes
  • pet care substrate / litter etc.
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