Known Uses of Attapulgite
Attapulgite is a substance which is widely used for Industrial and medicinal purposes. The Mineral was named after Attapulgus, in the extreme southwest part of Georgia, where the mineral is found in abundance and is also known as Fuller’s Earth, which is its commercial name.
The industries were using attapulgite for more than 40 years before; it was finally recognized as a clay mineral which was distinct. Its properties and chemical composition were quite similar to montmorillonite, which caused a lot of confusion in distinguishing the two.
In the 40’s finally people came to realize that it was a different material, when Bradley observed tiny needle-like particles. After the realization, about Attapulgite being a unique substance, there were subsequent efforts that were made to tap the multidimensional uses of the characteristic properties of Attapulgite for industrial applications.
Commercial uses of Attapulgtite
- 1) It is used in pet litter markets and oil drilling as an absorbant. Due to its high absorbing capacity, it helps in taking care of the oil spillage. It is also used in places like liquid fertilizer, floor absorbent and the oil-well drilling industries.
- 2) Attapulgtite is used as a thixotrope for coatings, adhesives, industrial absorbents, paint fertilizers and many more.
- 3) It is also used to manufacture products like Adhestives, Sealants, Colloidal Applications, putting, Thickening and gelling liquids, Oil well drilling mud, filling, binding, conditioning, paper reclaiming, pesticide carriers, cleansing products and in the manufacture of many other pharmaceutical products.
- 4) Attapultite, when mixed with lime mortar makes an excellent mixture which can be used to restore historical monuments and cultural heritage sites.
If ingested orally, it absorbs acids and toxic substances which are present in different internal body organs like the stomach, intestines and digestive tract. Used as an anti-diarrheal, it is also believed to absorb the germs and bacteria which might be responsible for causing diarrhea. It is used in the preparation of many medications for diarrhea like Diarrest, Diar-Aid, Diatabs, Diasorb and many more. People have been using Attapulgite to treat diarrhea for decades.
Since Attapulgite is being used for the treatment for diarrhea for such a long period of time, there are many chemical companies in India which are supplying Attapulgites, for the manufacture of medicines, and for other uses of the mineral.
It can be taken in various forms, like tablet, Liquid, Chewable tablets, suspensions, etc.
Benefits of Attapulgtite
- 1) Attapulgtite, being an inorganic substance, is resistant to bacteria and enzymes. Hence, therapeutically, it is used as an absorbent which helps to absorb, bacteria and other acidic enzymes.
- 2) It is an inert substance, which makes it stable, even if it is subjected to a wide pH range.
Due to its inorganic nature, it has the capability to stable neutralize enzymes and other bodily juices.
All these uses make Attapulgtite a multi-purpose industrial product. Due to these reasons, one can say that Attapulgtite has a good future, where, perhaps many more uses are yet to be discovered.