Is The Cat From The Old World Or New World Benefits of Using Zeolite As an Alternate to Attapulgite?

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Benefits of Using Zeolite As an Alternate to Attapulgite?

There are numerous zeolite deposits worldwide with very few being similar in characteristics. They are all unique and the Twist Road zeolite deposit is ‘one of a kind’. When comparing it to attapulgite as an absorbent, the Twist Road zeolite deposit offers attributes not seen in many zeolites from around the world.

Attapulgites are long-chain structures that form needle-shaped crystals. The needle-shaped crystals are porous and have a high surface area. This contributes to the mineral’s high absorption capacity. The needle-like structure also provides gelling and suspending properties similar to sepiolite. The chain, needle-like structure of attapulgite does not swell, but when dissolved in a liquid, the needle-like structures form a random network that traps the liquid, giving it a thickening property.

Zeolites on the other hand can be described as hydrated nanoporous aluminosilicates with a three-dimensional framework structure. The bonded framework combined with its naturally high porosity creates Twist Road Zeolite that has a high absorbent capacity. Absorption capacity can be similar, if not better than that of attapulgite depending on the beneficiation through the processing system. Zeolite does not have the thixotropic advantages of attapulgite.

The high porosity open structure of the Twist Road zeolite deposit is due to its young age of approximately 25,000 years. In comparison, the denser zeolites from Australia and Greece are 40-50 million years old. Therefore, these are highly compacted due to overburden and time for cementation of the mineral grains. Twist Road zeolite has a typical bulk density of 550-700 kg/m3, which is similar to that of attapulgite. Compared to other zeolites, this is lightweight. Zeolites from Australian deposits have typical densities of 1200 kg/m3 – a result of their age. For the zeolite world this means that Twist Road zeolite does not need to be as fine as the old zeolite to get the same absorbent performance.

A key difference and advantage for Twist Road zeolite is its higher cation exchange capacity. The cation exchange capacity for zeolite refers to its preference to absorb positively charged cations, which would include ammonia. This feature results in the benefit of suppressing odors. Odor control is an important issue for the cat litter industry and the indoor environment within which it is commonly used.

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