Abstract

The main physico-chemical properties of a new smectitic clay containing large amounts of amorphous material are reviewed and potential industrial applications of this type of clay are discussed. Due to a 34% amorphous material content (natural silica gel), the investigated clay has very high porosity and can be used as it is or in acid-impregnated form for oil bleaching or phosphate reduction in edible oil. In the field of biodiesel purification, the new clay can be used to remove, in particular, mono-, diglycerides and glycerol. The natural silica-smectite mixture is also suitable as a carrier for liquid ingredients, for example in animal feeds, and might serve as a partial or complete substitute for synthetic precipitated silicas. In the field of bioseparation processes, the clay can be used as an adsorbent for protein separation by means of cation exchange. Due to the suppressed swelling (compared with smectite alone), it can be packed in columns which can be regenerated.

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