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Alternate Names: Atapulgite, Palygorskite, fullers earth

Oxide Analysis Formula
SiO2 55.95% 3.06
Al2O3 9.60% 0.31
MgO 9.90% 0.81
Fe2O3 6.20% 0.13
K2O 1.30% 0.05
Na2O 0.40% 0.02
CaO 2.15% 0.13
MnO 0.30% 0.01
TiO2 0.50% 0.02
Oxide Weight 283.66
Formula Weight 319.08


A very fine highly water absorbent non-swelling clay material that imparts suspension, thixotropy and binding properties to bodies and suspensions. It is found in compact blocks in sedimentary rocks and looks like soil. It feels somewhat greasy smooth and the dried material is light in weight.

Unlike smectites and montmorillonites, attapulgites do not have a flat particle shape, they have rod-shaped particles. Particles are electrolytically charged, this enables them to function as shear-thinning thickeners and suspension agents by forming a dispersing thixotropic lattice by a non-swelling mechanism.

The high degree of refining plus the dispersant adsorbed on the product determine the self-dispersing characteristics. Attapulgite deposits are found in Florida (Active Minerals, a notable manufacturer, has products that include Acti-gel, Min-u-gel & Forigel; these differ in the amount refining).

One popular use of this material is heat-treating granules to improve liquid absorption and hardness for cat litter. The Swiss-cheese-like micro-structure gives them extraordinary capacity to absorb liquids.

Related Information


Materials Sepiolite
Materials Smectite
Materials Fuller's Earth
Materials Palygorskite
Materials Hectorite
Materials Bentonite
Materials Min-u-gel
Materials Acti-Gel 208
URLs http://www.sorptive.org/
Sorptive Mineral Institute for producers of absorbent clay mineral products
Acti-Gel 208 Information page
URLs http://activeminerals.com/PRODUCTS/ATTAPULGITE/
Attapulgite information page at ActiveMinerals.com
URLs https://acti-gel.com/acti-gel/
The unique properties of Acti-gel
URLs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palygorskite
Palygorskite at Wikipedia
Typecodes Generic Material
Generic materials are those with no brand name. Normally they are theoretical, the chemistry portrays what a specimen would be if it had no contamination. Generic materials are helpful in educational situations where students need to study material theory (later they graduate to dealing with real world materials). They are also helpful where the chemistry of an actual material is not known. Often the accuracy of calculations is sufficient using generic materials.
Minerals Attapulgite, Palygorskite

By Tony Hansen

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