WHAT IS KAOLIN?
Kaolin is a soft white mineral which has a large array of uses. It is most commonly found in the form of kaolin clay, a fine clay which was originally produced in China, which is why this clay is sometimes referred to as “China clay.” Among the many uses for this mineral are the paper industry, medications, skincare products, porcelain, and cosmetics. Sources of this mineral can be found all over the world, including the United States, China, Brazil, Australia, parts of Eastern Europe as well as the Niger-Delta Region of Nigeria.
The name comes from the Chinese “Gaoling,” a reference to a mountain which provided a source of the raw mineral. The Chinese used this mineral to produce their famously fine porcelain, and when European explorers were introduced to Chinese ceramics, many of them remarked on the delicate quality of Chinese ceramic work. This was made by possible by kaolin, a material that Europeans were not familiar with, and European ceramicists spent centuries trying to replicate the techniques used in China to produce porcelain.
Today, the secret of Chinese ceramics is out, and manufacturing companies all over the world utilize kaolin in their ceramics. In high concentrations, the mineral produces fine white pieces with a high level of tensile strength, and it can be used to produce several styles of ceramic. Kaolin clay can also be blended with other clays to create specific blends.
The mineral also has an ancient use as a skincare product. Like other clays, kaolin is very absorbent, and it can pull oils and dirt out of the skin. It is commonly used in clay masks or as an additive to baths to sooth the skin, and it is also included in numerous cosmetics. Powdered forms may be dusted on the face to absorb oil and reduce greasiness, while mineralized creams can be used to soothe dry skin or to reduce oiliness, depending on how they are formulated. Companies which carry natural skin care products often stock pure kaolin which people can use to make their own cosmetics and skin care products.
Another historic use of this mineral is as a remedy for gastrointestinal upset. People once ate kaolin because the clay coated the stomach to soothe irritation, and it absorbed bacteria and viruses which caused disease, as well as absorbing loose water, which caused the stools to firm. Some cultures continue to eat clays for stomach pain, and the mineral has also been integrated into many stomach care products, such as the liquid suspensions people take to treat diarrhea.
One of the most widespread uses of kaolin today is in paper manufacturing. The mineral is used to coat and fill paper, and the paper industry demands huge volumes of it annually. Varying levels of kaolin can be used to change the texture and appearance of paper products.
The two main industries where kaolin is widely used are Paper making and surface coating. Kaolin is the filler in paper making process and is the excellent pigment in surface coating. Kaolin is mined in Brazil, Britain, Germany, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, China, France and the southeastern U.S. states of Georgia, Florida.
Kaolin is the basic raw material in the production of ceramic wares such as bowls, teacups, flower vases, toilet and sanitary wares, floor and wall tiles, pharmaceutical and beauty products, it is available in high quantity for industrial and commercial purpose in these riverine areas. The establishment and construction of Kaolin Processing Plants and Training Centers in these riverine communities will ensure that the rural dwellers after receiving short training will be able to set up individual and group Pottery enterprises and receive cheap and affordable processed kaolin powder and wet form for production purposes. They will also receive cheap and affordable baking and glazing services for their finished products pending when they can set up their own kilns for carrying out the above mentioned services.
Advantages of setting up Processing Plants in rural communities:
- Kaolin processing requires the use of high volume of water and kaolin deposits are mostly found around and beneath rivers, this fact makes it imperative that these Plants be sited in the riverine and rural areas. Development and upgrade of social infrastructure in these communities will greatly improve both on short and long term bases
- In the absence of electricity or solar energy, Pottery making can still occur using manual techniques and equipment in the manufacture of ceramic products like sanitary wares, wall tiles, bowls, tea cups and saucers, flower vases and other decorative items. This means that production will not be halted by power outages even if it lasts for a long period.
- Apart from the main production Plant, rural dwellers will have the opportunity to create employment and self sustenance after acquiring skills by starting their individual mini factories.
- Pottery making can be handed over from generation to generation thus securing a bright future even for the unborn child.
STRUCTURAL REQUIREMENT OF KAOLIN PLANTS:
The structural requirement for Kaolin Plants are:
QUARRY: This is where the raw Kaolin will be excavated and transported away for processing.
CRUSHING PLANT: This is where the Kaolin is dried and grinded to fine powder.
FACTORY: This is the main place for processing the grinded Kaolin via Sieving to remove impurities, extracting other components i.e. pharmaceutical chemicals, packaging the processed clay or Kaolin, Firing and Glazing large quantities of finished wares and several other processes that will require the employment of several able bodied men and women.
EQUIPMENT AND PROCEDURE
Kaolin and ball clays are mined by directing hydraulic high-pressure jets of water on the clay faces of open pits, loosening the soft clay from the deposit. The liquefied clay mixture or “slip” is then raised by bucket elevator to a flume or chute that transports it to the preparation plant. In other methods, the clay is mined by removing the overburden (or overlay of soil or rock) by power shovel or dredging “dragline” machine. The exposed clay is then mined by a power shovel and delivered to the preparation plant by conveyer belt, truck, or rail.
At the preparation plant, the clay mixture is refined and “de-watered” by mechanical drying equipment and filter presses. The undesired grit minerals, such as sand, rutile, or mica, are separated from the clay by such processes as grinding, washing, screening, settling, or flotation (in which the extracted mixture is immersed in a solution that causes the undesired elements to sink to the bottom while the clay rise’s to the surface).
Kaolin is also called kaolinite and is a very important mineral, which has very wide application. Kaolin is famous for using in ceramics making. It is a soft, earthy, usually white mineral, produced by the chemical weathering of aluminum silicate minerals like feldspar. Kaolin becomes the essential ore materials of tens of industries, such as ceramics, medicine, coated paper, as a food additive, in toothpaste, as a light diffusing material in white incandescent light bulbs, paper-making, chemical, painting, rubber and national defense. Kaolin is most widely used in Paper-making industry.
Mini Electronic Pottery Wheels.