Although conceptually simple it took us over two years of research to determine the most important factors affecting the processes of electrochemical properties enhancement.
Natural electrochemical properties of zeolites are usually modified and increased (enhanced) during tribomechanical micronization 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 provide zeolite with enhanced properties of self-regulating process of pH normalisation (alkalisation), antioxidative properties (electron donor) and capability to absorb certain radioisotopes (zeolites).
However no matter how optimised and well-designed modern tribomechanical mills are there is a number of inherent limitations that such technology is simply not able to overcome. A few most obvious examples are:
- High cost of processing (very high energy consumption, short time between replacement of expensive expendable parts)
- Limited capability to modify zeolite ionic exchange properties (limited level of “activation”)
- Level of electrochemical properties enhancement (“activation”) is very hard to precisely control and adjust
In order to address inherent limitations of tribomechanical micronization technology we developed 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 crystal structure of the mineral is severely stressed (strained and relaxed).
In present embodiment we combined two different methods in order to achieve significant enhancement of zeolite ionic exchange properties (higher levels of “activation”).
During later stages of development we added capability to precisely regulate levels of processed mineral “activation”, energy consumption was reduced even further and mechanical design was simplified to reduce manufacturing cost.
Currently our zeolite processing technology is characterized by 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 micronization
- Mean time between parts replacement 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 behaviour of different chemical compounds.