SEPARATION SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, vol.47, no.6, pp.842-849, 2012 (SCI-Expanded)
In this study, the production of ultrapure Na-bentonite by centrifuge based techniques for organo and nano composite bentonite industry was investigated. Various parameters including centrifuging time, solids content, and g force were studied to determine the set points (cut size) for theoretical CEC (cation exchange capacity) and recovery limits. The experimental results were modeled using Response Surface Method (RSM) with high responses (regression > 85% and correlation coefficients > 0.85). it is shown that the commercial centrifugation equipment operating with residence time of 10-15 seconds and g values lower than 300 g such as Multi Gravity separator (MGS), Hydrocyclones and Falcon/Knelson concentrators are not suitable for obtaining pure quality Na-bentonite, since the set point size (5-8 mu m) is higher than 2 mu m which is defined for bentonite of high smectite contents. The RSM models demonstrate that only the kind of separators such as decanter centrifuges with operational g forces higher than 600 may exhibit the closest set point to 2 lm and thus enable the achievement of an ultra pure quality bentonite product. These assumptions obtained from the developed model were confirmed by running tests on Falcon and Mozley hydrocyclone separators.