[MSA-talk] treatment + separation of clay-bearing materials

Andrew Phelps phelpsaw at sbcglobal.net
Thu Nov 30 17:15:12 EST 2017


The separation method that you use is typically tailored to your desired solid end state, the character of your solvent, and the physics and chemistry of your particles/mixture, and the number of separation steps you can tolerate. If you have a mix of sand-sized mineral grains and clay-sized grains you need to decide what size retention/efficiency you wish to have. Do you wish to retain the colloidal fraction? Salting out can work if you cross the iso-electric point with your particles in suspension. Are you treating with a base or organic agent to saturate/de-saturate the particles with hydroxyl ions and make them hydrophilic or phobic as the case may be? Settling towers are a traditional tool for bulk processing if you can work in semi-batch mode. Filter pressing can be very effective as well. Your best bet is to find a retired separations specialist who can point you in the right direction quickly. The next best is to pull some old textbooks on mineral processing/separation that used to be found on most university library shelves and to start reading. You will find the topics broken down by industry (coal vs metal recovery), density (black sands), chemistry, continuous or batch processing (slurry, slimes, and muds), and so on. This is how I learned to process natural and synthetic materials on an industrial scale after leaving the narrower confines of mineral identification and characterization.
Andy BTW- I am in need of an experimental-oriented postdoc that doesn't mind getting dirty and isn't tied to the idea of being an academic. They need to be a US citizen capable of obtaining a Secret security clearance and willing to do very un-glamorous mineralogy-related applied mechanics/physics/chemistry/thermochemistry work. A person who is a self-starter from a non-traditional technical path might be a best fit. I am also looking for a mineralogy-oriented hardware person that has an interest in cutting edge research that gets no external validation or rewards (OK - very occasional validation) but is unlike anything that they have ever done before and that they haven't necessarily trained to do. They also need to be a US citizen capable of obtaining a Secret security clearance and willing to do very un-glamorous mineralogy-related applied mechanics/physics/chemistry/thermochemistry work.
This isn't a joke. The work site is in Southwest Ohio and the employer is a University.andrew.phelps at udri.udayton.edu
Andy   

    On Thursday, November 30, 2017 3:18 PM, Barry Bickmore <bbickmore at comcast.net> wrote:
 

 Hi everyone,
In a laboratory setting, if I want to treat a sediment or ground rock sample with some kind of aqueous reagent, and then separate the liquid from the solids, I can just use a centrifuge if there are clay minerals in there.  That probably isn’t feasible on an industrial scale, however.  Do any of you know how such separations are done on an industrial scale?  You could flocculate the clay by adding some salt, I suppose, but then if you try to remove the salt, you would once again be faced with the same problem.
Barry
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