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Attapulgite
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Attapulgite is a magnesium aluminium phyllosilicate with formula (Mg,Al)2Si4O10(OH) 4(H2O) which occurs in a type of clay soil. It is one of the types of fuller's earth. Attapulgite clays are a composite of smectite and palygorskite. Smectites are expanding lattice clays of which bentonite is a commonly known generic name for smectite clays. The palygorskite component is an acicular bristle-like crystalline form which does not swell or expand.

Attapulgite forms gel structures in fresh and salt water by establishing a lattice structure of particles connected through hydrogen bonds. Attapulgite will form gel structures in salt water and is used in special salt water drilling mud for drilling formations contaminated with salt. Attapulgite clays are bundles of palygorskite clay particles between 2 and 3 micrometres long and below 3 nanometres in diameter. The bundles are surrounded by a matrix of smectite clays which are slightly swellable. Processing of these clays consist of drying and grinding the crude clay to specific particle size distributions with specific ranges of gel viscosity measured by a variety of means depending on the end use.
Gel grade, dry processed attapulgites are used in a very wide range of applications for suspension, reinforcement and binding properties. Paints, sealants, adhesives, tape-joint compound, catalysts, suspension fertilizers, wild fire suppressants, foundry coatings, animal feed suspensions and molecular sieve binders are just a few uses of dry process attapulgite.

All non-palygorskite particles are removed leaving the purified form of palygorskite. This material is capable of performing rheology modification and particle suspension of high solids slurries in a wide variety of mineral applications such as ceramics, catalyst, concrete, sealants, adhesives and plastics. It acts as a very high temperature binder for materials that are historically very difficult to bind such as activated carbon, silicon carbide and calcined aluminas.
 
Attapulgite is used widely in medicine. Taken by mouth, it physically binds to acids and toxic substances in the stomach and digestive tract. Also, as an anti-diarrheal, it is believed to work by adsorbing the bacteria or germ that may be causing the diarrhea. For this reason, it has been used in several anti-diarrheal medications, including Diar-Aid, Diarrest, Diasorb, Diatrol, Donnagel, Kaopek, K-Pek, Parepectolin, and Rheaban.
 
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