Attapulgite is a unique clay mineral with a wide variety of industrial uses.
The uniqueness of attapulgite as an industrial mineral is owed to its very high surface area and porosity. Its magnesium silicate structure resembles a brick wall with every second brick missing. This leaves elongated porous channels that are highly absorbent and capable of forming gels when ground to fine powders.
The pore volume of Geohellas attapulgite is 0,6 to 0,7 ml/g, while surface areas range from 250 to over 300 m2/g. In everyday terms, one can imagine that it would be possible to cover an entire football pitch with only few tens of grams of attapulgite!
Sorbent and gelling grades of attapulgite find their way in a variety of basic as well as niche applications.
Sorbent grades of attapulgite are used as clarifying agents for oils, filter aids, oil spill absorbents, pesticide carriers, soil improvers, animal litters, and toxin binders for humans and animals. With regard to toxic binding, attapulgite has a long history of use in the USA as the functional ingredient in the most popular anti-diarrheal pharmaceuticals.
Gelling grades are used as thickening agents in applications ranging from paints to drilling muds, with niche applications in cosmetics and liquid health care products.
Attapulgite differs from other clays in a variety of ways. For example, unlike gels made with bentonite clay, gels made with attapulgite remain stable in the presence of salts and other additives. This means that attapulgite retains its thickening properties in complex formulations used in applications such as paints, stuccos, and pharmaceuticals. For the same reason, attapulgite is the clay of choice for drilling in salt-contaminated oil and gas formations.
In terms of sorbent properties, attapulgite excels over all other clays as a clarification agent for the edible oils industry. The ability of attapulgite to purify is enhanced by thermal treatment to temperatures over 200°C where it develops a surface acidity optimal for mild but effective oil contaminant removal.
With an emphasis on R&D, the unique properties of attapulgite are fully exploited by Geohellas in existing and new applications and products. Our flexibility in production and extensive reserves make Geohellas the one-and-only European source of attapulgite for a broad range of industry and consumer markets.