2016 Volume 57 Issue 12 Pages 2158-2164
Microcrystalline silica impurities such as quartz and opal-CT commonly associated in bentonite should be controlled and removed as far as possible when bentonite is used as biocompatible raw material because the impurities are hazardous in human health. Since opal-CT contained in Korean Ca-bentonite in trace amounts cannot be well separated by conventional sedimentation method, in this work, the ultrasound-assisted removal of the impurity was attempted. Irradiating ultrasound into bentonite-water suspension promoted the production of fine montmorillonite particles in the suspension and the production markedly increased when montmorillonite was activated by Na2CO3. Subsequent centrifugation of the suspension made it possible to recover pure montmorillonite particles as an overflow product. Only 16.2 mass% of total solids was recovered as an overflow from non-activated suspension, whereas 63.5 mass% was recovered from activated suspension at centrifuging speed of 10000 rpm. Increasing sonicating time enhanced the yield of overflow, however, excessive sonication up to 10 min hindered the high purification of montmorillonite. It was observed that the peak reflection of (101) plane of opal-CT in overflow increased as sonicating time increased during prolonged sonication.