Bentonite – additional information
Bentonite is an absorbent aluminum phyllosilicate clay which is frequently generated from the alteration of volcanic ash. It consists predominantly of montmorillonite, a clay mineral. In 1898, Bentonite was first discovered in 1898 and classified in Fort Benton, Wyoming. Bentonite products have properties which give them a wide and diverse range of uses and applications. Its ability to expand in water is one of its most important properties, giving bentonite its voluminous and gelatinous mass. There are several different types of bentonite, such as, sodium bentonite, calcium bentonite and potassium bentonite.
Sodium and calcium bentonites are primarily used for various industrial purposes. In iron and steel production processes, bentonite is widely used as a binding agent. For example, sodium bentonite is commonly used for large castings while calcium bentonite is more often used for smaller castings. The United States was one of the key producers of bentonite in 2016, followed by China and Greece. In 2017, the U.S. exported around 940 thousand metric tons of bentonite to other countries.
Another common use of bentonite is as a cat litter, due to its advantage of absorbing refuse by forming clumps and leaving the rest of the product for further use. During the period from 1996 through 2014, bentonite was, by far, the most popular cat litter material used in North America and Europe.