Modified bentonites are of widespread technological importance. Common modifications include acid activation and organic treatment. Acid activation has been used for decades to prepare bleaching earths for adsorbing impurities from edible and industrial oils. Organic treatment has sparked an explosive interest in a class of materials called polymer-clay nanocomposites (PCNs). The most commonly used clay mineral in PCNs is montmorillonite, which is the main constituent of bentonite. PCN materials are used for structural reinforcement and mechanical strength, for gas permeability barriers, as flame retardants, and to minimize surface erosion (ablation). Other specialty applications include use as conducting nanocomposites and bionanocomposites.

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