Occurrences of Short-Range Order Clays and their Use in Pollution Control

Parfitt RL,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
A quarter of the North Island, New Zealand is covered by weathered volcanic tephras of mainly andesitic and rhyolitic compositions. Rapid weathering of basic volcanic glass and slower weathering of acidic glass have produced short-range order alumino-silicate clays such as allophane. Although amorphous to x-rays they have a high degree of local structure. Allophane comprises hollo spheres of approximately 40 diameter and 7 X wall thickness. This small particle size and morphology gives a very high surface area (up to 800 m2/g). Ferrihydrite is another short-range order clay of similar small size and high surface area; it has ò formed from the rapid oxidation of water containing ferrous iron derived from volcanic rocks. The quantity of allophane present in tephra depends upon the climate, the nature of the volcanic glass and the time it has weathered. In New Zealand highest amounts (-50%) occur in beds of andesitic ash deposited on old ignimbrite surfaces with mean annual rainfalls >1600 mm. Both allophane and ferrihydrite will react with oxyanions, such as phosphate, arsenate or borate, and remove them from solution. Other anions such as fluoride also react with aluminium sites on the mineral surface. At NZ Soil Bureau, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), New Zealand, techniques have been developed for granulating allophane to enable it to be used to remove pollutants from solution without dispersion into the liquid phase. This granulated allophane can be used to remove phosphate from sewage effluent or fluoride from tap water without having a sedimentation stage to remove the clay.
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