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Fuller's Earth | Palygorskite

Magensium aluminim phyllosilicate

Chemical formula: (Mg,Al)2Si4O10(OH)·4(H2O)

Scientific name: Calcium Montmorillonite

  • One dimensional nanomaterial

  • Unique nanorod-like crystals

  • Environmentally friendly

  • Excellent physicochemical properties

  • Recyclable, promoting circular economy

Attapulgite based Functional materials

  • Adsorbents

  • Colloidial materials

  • Hybrid materials

  • Polymer/ attapulgite composites

  • Bio-inspired materials

  • Catalysts

  • Energy materials

  • Recycling of attapulgite

Attapulgite: from clay minerals to functional materials

Pesticides. Jet fuel. Olive oil. Transformer oil refiner. Skin cream. Kitty litter.

All applications for Attapulgite clay, utilising Attapulgite clay's natural mineral properties as a filter, carrier and rheology modifier.

Attapulgite clay was historically used for cleaning woollen cloth for nearly seven thousand years. "Fulling" was the process of cleansing and thickening cloth, and a "Fuller" was a person engaged in its trade and practice, giving rise to the term "Fuller's Earth".

In prehistoric times whole wool and fleece were smelly and contained many sorts of impurities. To counter this problem the woollen industries used to soak pieces of cloth in some alkaline solution and then agitated it in a trough or vat containing slurry of Attapulgite clay. Several rinses with clean water were given later to remove the earth, which carried away with it most of the grease, dirt, smell and fecal matter remaining in the raw wool.

History of Attapulgite clay uses from 7,000 years ago

Laundering soiled cloth

Antidote to Food poisoning

Absorption of Alkaloids

Attapulgite clay (Fuller's Earth) was used in laundries for removing oil and grease from heavily soiled dungarees, work gear and the like. Attapulgite clay was very effective for scouring and fulling as it is far less gritty. Indeed Attapulgite clay is better than soap or solvents for cleaning heavily oil-soiled textiles, such as dirty mats from motor cars. It is now known that it helps to prevent redeposition of soil when present in a complex household laundry detergent.

Attapulgite clay was mainly used at that time as an antidote to poison due to its superb adsorption properties. Including food poisoning and for the staunching of blood. Other uses included – a remedy for gastric disorders and diarrheas.

Some literatures suggest that Attapulgite clay (Fuller’s Earth) adsorbed alkaloids; it was especially effective in precipitating morphine from a solution of its sulphate. Attapulgite clay was most active with caffeine, quinoline, nicotine, peperidine and adenine.

Cosmetics Face & Foot care

External applications

Attapulgite clay (Fuller’s Earth) tones up the skin. Improves the complexion. Smoothes out wrinkles. It has a softening and preservation action upon skin of hands and face. Is tender to all skin types. It is very effective in treating oily skin as a deep pore cleanser to draw out hidden oils and grime.

Twentieth-century beauticians are clearly well aware of a Attapulgite clay (Fuller’s Earth) paste’s capacity to draw oil or fatty matter into itself as it dries out.

In earlier times and mainly during World War 2 sore and inflamed feet were soothed in a dispersion of Attapulgite clay (Fuller’s Earth) in water.

Research during the war times established that Lewisite poison gas blisters healed rapidly when bandages containing Attapulgite clay (Fuller’s earth) powder were applied.

To remove stains or spots of DNOC (dinitroorthocresol), the agricultural spraying poison, Attapulgite clay (Fuller’s Earth) should be applied as a paste, allowed to dry and then brushed off, according to official advice.

Another way in which Attapulgite clay (Fuller’s Earth) is applied to the skin is a hot plaster for drawing pus and reducing inflammation.

Attapulgite clay (Fuller’s Earth) was used as a styptic; used in preventing dermatitis in dye houses by dusting onto the face after being given a base coating of cream.

Attapulgite clay (Fuller’s Earth) in veterinary practice is usually applied as a poultice in the cure of sore places on horses.

Attapulgite clay (Fuller’s Earth) has also been used in tooth paste and laxatives.

Application of Attapulgite clay (Fuller’s Earth) pastes need not, of course, be confined to the face and neck, though in the modern world Attapulgite clay (Fuller’s Earth) is also in vogue for washing hair. If you have oily hair it works like a miracle.

Other applications include treatment of bedsores and rheumatic joints.

Recently the pastes have been applied also to the whole body of models by artists and photographers who wish to see their female nude in a new way.

Household cleaning

Attapulgite clay (Fuller’s Earth) must of course have served from very early times in household cleaning. Many books of household management have countless recipes of Fuller’s Earth.

A simple method to clean oil, grease spillage or kitchen stains from walls, wall-paper or floors is to spray it with dry Fuller’s Earth powder and leave for a while and wipe with a cloth. You can repeat the procedure if the stain persists. This is a very safe method as it will not affect the paint or colour of your wall paper.

For very stubborn stains you can spread Fuller’s Earth paste with water over the stain and leave it for 24 hrs, dust it later and wipe with a wet cloth.

Fuller’s Earth powder is also effective as a cleaner of porcelain, bone china and other crockery. A Fuller’s Earth paste also effectively cleans window and glass panes.

Fuller’s Earth paste can also be used to clean delicate fabrics with stubborn stains like that of blood.

There are some accounts of Fuller’s Earth power also being used in the manufacture of soaps used for cleaning clothes in saline water.

House Pets & Animals

House pets and furry animals can also be cleaned using Fuller’s Earth powder as it is a safe, non-toxic and naturally occurring mineral.

Fuller’s Earth is also widely used all over the world as cat litter, due to its high absorption capacity, deodorization properties, non-toxicity and natural earth colour which makes the animals feel at home while defecating.

Conventional uses of
Attapulgite clay

Since over a century and till date the major use of Fuller’s Earth is for decolorizing animal, vegetable and petroleum oils, fats, greases, waxes and solvents.

There are even accounts of Fuller’s Earth being used to decolorize beer.

  • Granular Fuller’s Earth is used to improve UV spectrometer readings and PNC values of petroleum base oil distillates.

  • Cat litter.

  • Cosmetic creams and face packs.

  • Pharmaceuticals.

  • Agricultural pesticide carriers.

  • Manufacture of various catalysts used in the petroleum and chemical industries.

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