Although conceptually simple, it took us over two years of research to determine the most critical factors affecting the processes of electrochemical properties enhancement.
Natural electrochemical properties of zeolites are usually modified and increased (enhanced) during tribomechanical micronisation and activation process. In fact “activation” is the term describing additional increase and enhancement of mineral ionic exchange properties as a result of industrial processing. In practical terms, increased ionic exchange provides zeolite with enhanced properties of the self-regulating process of pH normalisation (alkalisation), antioxidative properties (electron donor) and capability to absorb specific radioisotopes (zeolites).
However no matter how optimised and well-designed modern tribomechanical mills are, there are some inherent limitations that such technology is just not able to overcome. A few most obvious examples are:
- The high cost of processing (very high energy consumption, frequent replacement of expensive expendable parts)
- Limited capability to modify zeolite ionic exchange properties (limited level of “activation”)
- It is difficult to precisely control/adjust the level of electrochemical properties enhancement (“activation”).
- To address the inherent limitations of tribomechanical micronisation technology, we developed an innovative industrial processing method. Early on in our research, we discovered that significant modifications of zeolite electrochemical properties are possible only during periods in which the crystal structure of the mineral is severely stressed (strained and relaxed).
In the present embodiment, we combined two different methods to achieve significant enhancement of zeolite ionic exchange properties (higher levels of “activation”).
During later stages of development we added the capability to precisely regulate levels of processed mineral “activation”, energy consumption was reduced even further, and mechanical design was simplified to reduce production cost.
Currently, our zeolite processing technology could be characterised by the following facts:
- It can measurably modify and enhance ionic exchange properties (“activation”) of processed zeolites and certain other minerals to levels that are virtually impossible to reach with tribomechanical technologies
- Levels of electrochemical properties modification are precisely adjustable
- Energy consumption is very modest compared to tribomechanical micronisation
- Meantime between replacements of parts is significantly longer compared to commonly used processing technologies
- Modular design allows for further development and upgrades
- The next stage of our research is already going in the direction of the development of even more sophisticated methods that enable modification of energy distribution patterns of processed mineral particles. In (over)simplified terms it means that there are indications of possibility to “program” different types of mineral particles like zeolites in a way that would at least partially mimic the behaviour of different chemical compounds.