Bentonite is a clay derived from the alteration of volcanic ash. Bentonite is solid, so after extracting it from the deposits, it has to be crushed and dried to reduce its moisture content up to 15%.
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What is bentonite clay?
The two different names, bentonite or montmorillonite clay, come from the places where it was used and found for the first time, Fort Benton, United States, and Montmorillon, France. It mainly consists of montmorillonite, a clay mineral belonging to a class of phyllosilicates called smectites which when in contact with a liquid start swelling. It can absorb water up to ten times its own weight. There are two types of bentonite according to the mineral mostly present in it: calcium bentonite and sodium bentonite.
Calcium bentonite clay for skincare products
Major deposits of calcium bentonite are in Greece, Australia, and Turkey. Compared to sodium bentonite, calcium bentonite has a low level of swelling and has a more greenish-yellow tone. Calcium bentonite is typically used in skincare as a face mask, for instance. It carries a negative charge that binds to the positive charge of the toxins in your skin to draw them out. It can also be ingested to remove the toxins for your body.
Sodium bentonite clay for industrial uses
Sodium bentonite is also known as swelling clay because of its high level of swelling. It has a gray color and is used in industrial applications. You can find it as drilling mud and as a binder in the foundry as well as a clarifying agent in the production of beer or wine. It acts as a water softener to remove calcium from hard water. Its high absorption ability makes it a useful natural sealant to line the base of landfills or to seal roads.
Bentonite processing – How to dry and grind your bentonite clay
Grinding and drying are key steps when processing bentonite. When bentonite comes out of the mines, it is solid and its natural moisture content is about 30%. Therefore, you need to dry it to reduce the moisture. A dryer brings the moisture down to allow the bentonite to be pulverized. A grinder usually is used to reduce the particle sizes of the material.