Purification of montmorillonite is a process to remove non clay minerals (gangue) such as calcite, feldspar, quartz, opal (C-T), and mica from montmorillonite ore. This is performed to make montmorillonite suitable for use in sensitive applications such as pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food, and advanced materials for nanotechnology. Gangue minerals in raw montmorillonite ores can cause serious health problems when used in pharmaceutics, cosmetic, and food industries and reduce material quality in advanced materials production. Montmorillonite purification can be divided into two main classes as physical and chemical purification. Physical purification processes are based on particle size difference between the gangue and montmorillonite minerals. Purification processes based on gravity separation are ineffective since the specific weights of gangue and montmorillonite minerals are very close to each other. Physical purification process includes sedimentation, centrifugal separation, aero separation, and sieving techniques. Chemical purification of montmorillonite is based on dissolution and so extraction of carbonates, metal hydroxides, organic materials, and silica, respectively, using different leaching techniques.
Part of the book: Montmorillonite Clay