How does clay work?
Adsorption & Absorption
The words adsorption and absorption may sound similar but they are fundamentally different in the functions they represent.
" What takes place is actually an ion
exchange which is often described as
a magnetic or drawing effect.
It is electrical attraction."
Adsorption describes how clay is able to attach to other substances. The clay molecule can perhaps be pictured as a stack of business cards with space between them. Around the edge of these cards is a negative electrical charge of unsatisfied ionic bonds. These ions naturally seek to be satisfied and therefore when in contact with substances that carry the opposite (positive) electrical charge an ion exchange takes place.
Pollutants and toxic substances carry a positive electrical charge.
Absorption is the when clay swells and is stretched open like a highly porous sponge, drawing pollutants and toxins etc. into its internal structure, literally locking them away.
The greater the surface area the greater the power to pick up positively charged particles.
According to Robert T. Martins, B.S.,a mineralogist University of Minnesota; Ph.D., Cornell University and Mineralogist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the molecular surface of one gram
(1/28th of an ounce ) of Bentonite Clay has a surface area of 800 sq. meters
Not all clay is the same though and not all clays can achieve the same results.
Ran Knishinsky writes " I have seen a variety of Bentonite clays where each one looked, felt, tasted, and acted different from others. They did so because they were not the same clays"
Bentonites value lies in its fine molecular particle size and very loosely bound ions that are easily exchangeable.