Correlating Clay Mineralogy with Performance: Reducing Manufacturing Waste Through Improved Understanding

EPA Grant Number: R828737C009
Subproject: this is subproject number 009 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R830420
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Center for Environmental and Energy Research (CEER)
Center Director: Earl, David A.
Title: Correlating Clay Mineralogy with Performance: Reducing Manufacturing Waste Through Improved Understanding
Investigators: Carty, William , Hluchy, Michele M.
Institution: Alfred University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: September 1, 2001 through August 31, 2003
RFA: Targeted Research Center (2000) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Targeted Research


This project will systematically evaluate a series of commercial clays used as raw materials for manufacturing. We will use a variety of analytical techniques for characterizing the raw materials and behavior of the clays in aqueous suspensions, including x-ray diffraction, chemical analysis, zeta-potential measurements, differential thermal analysis, thermogravimetric analysis, and electron microscopy. The data that are generated will be used to develop a correlation between mineralogy and suspension behavior, thus providing the basis for improved efficiency in manufacturing processes that heavily rely on clays, such as traditional ceramics (i.e. dinnerware, high tension electrical insulators, etc.) and the production of coated paper. Our results will help manufacturers significantly reduce loss rates during manufacturing processes and reduce emissions of pollutants generated during the manufacturing process.


The investigators have completed the literature review. They have completed a set of rheology experiments. Preliminary conclusions are that swellable smectite impurities have the greatest effect on the rheology of kaolin with the ability to increase the viscosity by several orders of magnitude. Illitic clays do not swell and have moderate surface areas, therefore, illites were found to play a negligible role in clay rheology. PAA dispersant has little impact on smectite rheology, however, it does cause a slight decrease in viscosity which is more dramatic for Veegum T than for Wyoming bentonite.

They are working on tracking the fluctuations in the mineralogy of industrial clay materials. The results from the characterization tests completed so far on the segregated samples of the clays support the supposition that the large particles (presumably quartz and agglomerated illite) drop out of suspension quickly.

Expected Results:

Preliminary evaluation of the screening test for raw material variability indicates that the test, though simple in nature, has the potential to provide very useful results. It has been determined that suspensions prepared from a single batch of clay show very little variation in their sediment. For a given clay, several different batches need to be examined, using the levels in the sediment from each of those batches to establish a baseline. Once the baseline has been established for a clay, new batches of the raw material can be evaluated to screen for significant differences from the norm.

Relevant Websites: Exit Exit

Supplemental Keywords:

clay raw materials, aqueous suspensions, x-ray diffraction, chemical analysis, zeta-potential measurement, differential thermal analysis, thermogravimetric analysis, electron microscopy, characterization, clay mineralogy, rheology, RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Sustainable Industry/Business, Sustainable Environment, Technology, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Chemistry and Materials Science, pollution prevention, thermochemical stability, characterization of materials, cleaner production, waste reduction, clean technologies, environmental sustainability, alternative materials, commercial clay, environmental chemistry, material selection methodology, industrial clay materials, electron microscopy, clean manufacturing designs

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R830420    Center for Environmental and Energy Research (CEER)

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R828737C001 Environmental Impact of Fuel Cell Power Generation Systems
    R828737C002 Regional Economic and Material Flows
    R828737C003 Visualizing Growth and Sustainability of Water Resources
    R828737C004 Vibratory Residual Stress Relief and Modifications in Metals to Conserve Resources and Prevent Pollution
    R828737C005 Detecting and Quantifying the Evolution of Hazardous Air Pollutants Produced During High Temperature Manufacturing: A Focus on Batching of Nitrate Containing Glasses
    R828737C006 Sulfate and Nitrate Dynamics in the Canacadea Watershed
    R828737C007 Variations in Subsurface Denitrifying and Sulfate-Reducing Microbial Populations as a Result of Acid Precipitation
    R828737C008 Recycling Glass-Reinforced Thermoset Polymer Composite Materials
    R828737C009 Correlating Clay Mineralogy with Performance: Reducing Manufacturing Waste Through Improved Understanding
    R830420C001 Accelerated Hydrogen Diffusion Through Glass Microspheres: An Enabling Technology for a Hydrogen Economy
    R830420C002 Utilization of Paper Mill Waste in Ceramic Products
    R830420C003 Development of Passive Humidity-Control Materials
    R830420C004 Microarray System for Contaminated Water Analysis
    R830420C005 Material and Environmental Sustainability in Ceramic Processing
    R830420C006 Interaction of Sealing Glasses with Metallic Interconnects in Solid Oxide and Polymer Fuel Cells
    R830420C007 Preparation of Ceramic Glaze Waste for Recycling using Froth Flotation
    R830420C008 Elimination of Lead from Ceramic Glazes by Refractive Index Tailoring
    R830420C010 Nanostructured C6B: A Novel Boron Rich Carbon for H2 Storage