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Home > Products > Oil well drilling fluid & Mud > Bentonite


What is Bentonite?

Bentonite is a highly absorbent clay-like substance that helps to lift impacted waste matter which has accumulated on the walls of the gastrointestinal tract. It is usually used in colon cleansing programs and with enema therapy. It should be used under the direction of a health care practitioner.

Bentonite History & General Information

Bentonite Geology A material composed of clay minerals, predominantly montmorillonite with minor amounts of other smectite group minerals, commonly used in drilling mud. Bentonite swells considerably when exposed to water, making it ideal for protecting formations from invasion by drilling fluids. Montmorillonite forms when basic rocks such as volcanic ash in marine basins are altered.

Use in Cosmetic and Pharmaceutical Preparations

Bentonite gels are used as a carrier for a number of cosmetic preparatios, tooth-pastes, creams for skin and other similar products. For the preparation of cosmetic creams, bentonite is generally used as a paste formed with water and glycerine. Bentonite when intimately mixed with water in the proportion of one to four gives a pasty mass with the consistency of a heavy grease and in this form it is used for the preparation of medicinal ointments. Bentonite in the natural state is non-poisonous and harmless; thus it finds use in tooth-paste and even in the preparation of lipstick. 
The swelling type of bentonite is finding increasing use in the manufacture of insecticides and paints. The latest use has been its development as a bonding agent in pelletizing iron ore fines in the USA. The taconite agglomeration plant in north-eastern Minnesota consumes a considerable quantity of bentonite.

Use in Drilling Muds

Drilling muds consist of water to which sodium bentonite and pulverized barytes are added. Such muds are prepared mainly for deep drilling, like oil-well drilling. Bentonite imparts two properties : 
• It gives the fluid a viscosity several times that of water and thixotrophy. 
• It seals the wall of the holes, thus preventing water loss. 
The quantity of bentonite used is variable depending upon the depth of the hole to be drilled. Generally one tonne of bentonite is used to prepare about 100 barrels of mud.

Use as Decolourizer

Decolourizing bentonites are those which carry Ca and / or Mg as an exchangeable ion. They are used in the decolourization of animal and vegetable facts (like ground-nut, castor-oil and Vanaspati) and petroleum oil, lubricants, paraffins and other waxes. These are decolourized in two ways: 
• By the percolation method. 
• By the contact method.

Use as Foundry Sands

Bentonite is utilized in foundry to bind the sand grains into desired shapes. Bentonite helps in retaining the mechanical shape of the mould by making the particles of sands adhere and also making the surface impermeable. Strength and fusion point are the two important properties desired for selecting bentonite. Generally, the swelling type of bentonite is used though other types of bentonites have also been used.

Bentonite Chemical Properties


BaTiSi3O9 Barium Titanium Silicate

Yiel point

16 M3/t Min

Water Loss

15% Max


15% Max

Wet Screen

200 mesh 2.5% Max

Dry screen

100 mesh 98% Min



Bentonite Usage: Use as Grouting Material

Bentonite has great water binding ability and consequently very law permeability to water. It has been found, that the permeability of the soil is reduced considerably when substituted by sodium bentonite. Hence, this material is often employed in construction engineering ot make a porous medium water-tight. It can be used alone or with some other grouting material.

Bentonite Packing

All grades of Bentonite are available in various types of packaging:
1. 1 Ton Jumbo bags
2. 25kg package for powder

Bentonite Drilling Fluids

A clay mineral that is composed principally of three-layer clays, such as montmorillonite, and widely used as a mud additive for viscosity and filtration control. Commercial bentonite ores vary widely in amount and quality of the swelling clay, sodium montmorillonite. Ores of lower quality, those with more calcium-type montmorillonite, are treated during grinding by adding one or more of the following: sodium carbonate, long-chain synthetic polymers, carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), starch or polyphosphates. These help make the final product meet quality specifications. Unfortunately, the additives may not remain effective in "the real mud world" when in use at the rig due to hardness ions in the water, high temperature, bacterial attack, mechanical shear-degradation and other factors that can render these additives ineffective.

Bentonite Cure

The name bentonite refers to a clay first identified (or named) in cretaceous rock. The notion of eating clay to produce internal healing will no doubt strike many as farfetched if not a little primitive. But natural clay, especially the form known as bentonite, has not only been used medicinally for centuries by indigenous peoples around the world, but has, in recent years, been increasingly prescribed by practitioners of alternative medicine as a simple but effective internal cleanser to assist in reversing numerous health problems. Bentonite is not a mineral but a commercial name for montmorillonite, the active mineral in many medicinal clays and which comes from weathered volcanic ash. This name derives from Montmorillon, France, where the medicinal mineral was first identified. Sometimes mineralogists use the term smectite instead to describe the same substance. A VOLCANIC DETOXIFIER—Bentonite, a medicinal powdered clay which is also known as montmorillonite, derives from deposits of weathered volcanic ash. It is one of the most effective natural intestinal detoxifying agents available and has been recognized as such for centuries by native peoples around the world. Whatever the name, liquid clay contains minerals that, once inside the gastrointestinal tract, are able to absorb toxins and deliver mineral nutrients to an impressive degree, says Knishinsky. Liquid clay is inert which means it passes through the body undigested.

Bentonite Properties

Two types of bentonite are generally identified. One is called the swelling type or sodium bentonite, which has single water layer particles containing Na+ as the exchangeable ion. The other has double water layer particles with Ca++ as the exchangeable ion. It is called calcium bentonite or non-swelling type. Na+ or Ca++ is exchanged by Mg++ or Fe++. A third type of montmorillonite has been identified with zero water layer particles and is probably electrostatically neutral. Calcium bentonite is usually referred to as fuller's earth by a number of authorities because chemically and also in physical properties it is identical to calcium-montmorillonite.
In the early years, all naturally occurring activated clays having good bleaching properties were called fuller's earths. The word fuller's earth has been named after the practise of fulling or cleaning the grease and stains from wool and cloth. 
The essential difference between bentonite and fuller's earth is in their modes of occurrence and other physical properties. Bentonite is regarded to have been formed by the alteration of volcanic ash deposits, mostly in upper Cretaceous formations. Fuller's earth represent a shaly facie of Tertiary rock.
Bentonites having law iron content, have been found to be good catalytic agents in petroleum refining. The bentonites having Ca and / or Mg as exchangeable ions are good decolourizers. Bentonites can absorb water to a greater extent than ordinary plastic clays. Fuller's earth, on the other hand, is non-plastic or semi-plastic in character. It has a foliated structure. Dry or dehydrated fuller's earth adheres strongly to the tongue. The absorption of water in sodium bentonite proceeds with a considerable increase in volume (as much as 14 times its original volume) creating an excellent gel and viscous material which is invaluable for the preparation of drilling muds and in grouting of dams, wells etc. Sodium bentonite has an excellent thixotropic property, i.e. the gel becoming stiff on standing and reverting to fluidity when shaken. The swelling type bentonite when dispersed in water, separates into suspendible flakes which are all finer than 0.5 micron. Calcium bentonite yields about 35% finer than 0.5 micron. Calcium bentonite yields about 35% finer than 0.5 microns. The difference in bentonite and other clays lies in lattice structure. The sheet of atoms in bentonite are much thinner and more easily separable in water. That is why bentonite occupies more surface area than other clays. This property is known as dispersibility, which is unique to swelling type of bentonite.

Bentonite and Fuller's Earth

Bentonite and Fuller's Earth are the two important naturally occurring clays of great commercial importance possessing inherent bleaching properties. They are, therefore commonly called bleaching clays. They fall mainly under montmorillonite group containing a varying amount of attapulgite. The montmorillonite is designated by the chemical formula (OH4).Si8.O20.nH2O. The clay minerals of montmorillonite and attapulgite groups are distinguished by their adsoption characteristics. The chemical composition of these clays is similar to that of other common clays and it is rarely that these clays can be identified by chemical analysis. It is by X-rays, D.T.A., electron microscopic as well as by staining techniquished. The natural activity in the clay is determined by actual trials. The other important property of the montmorillonite group of minerals is possession of exchangeable ions.

Bentonite Foundry

A southern bentonite consisting of a high calcium concentration. This is a non-swelling bentonite that offers substantially lower dry and hot strengths by comparison to a western bentonite. These physical attributes, when used in moderation, will improve sand flow ability and ease shake-out sand conditions. Primary use is in the production of non-ferrous castings.

Bentonite Industrial


Asphalt emulsion 


Organophilic clay





Bentonite Animal Feed

AGRI-FLEX™ technology aids in pellet binding for animal feed. A natural sodium bentonite clay, it is used in animal feed formulations at a 1.5 to 4.0 percent inclusion rate. 
As bentonite, The AGRI-FLEX technology is accepted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) as a direct food ingredient. AGRI-FLEX is certified as kosher by The Scroll K.

Water Treatment

ontaminant removalClarify natural and industrial waters


Bentonite Other Usage

1. As a gemstone and as a mineral specimen, oil well drilling.
2. API 13-A or OCMA specifications, is used in pet litter to absorb liquids. It is used as a mud in drilling applications.
3. It is also used in other industrial applications such as the "pelletizing" of iron ore.
4. Provides hole cleaning, lubrication, and water-loss control. 
5. Often used in saturated or salty drilling fluids systems.

Bentonite Clay: What Is Bentonite?

Bentonite, also referred to as Montmorillonite, is one of the most effective and powerful healing clays used to treat both internal and external maladies. Bentonite can be used externally as a clay poultice, mud pack or in the bath and, in skin care recipes. Internally it can be added to water or glazed upon food to help those with sensitive palates. A good quality Bentonite should be a grey/cream color and anything bordering "pure white" is suspect. It has a very fine, velveteen feel and is odorless and non-staining.

How Does Bentonite Work?

Bentonite is very unusual in the fact that once it becomes hydrated, the electrical and molecular components of the clay rapidly change and produce an "electrical charge". Its highest power lies in the ability to absorb toxins, impurities, heavy metals and other internal contaminants. Bentonite clay's structure assists it in attracting and soaking up poisons on its exterior wall and then slowly draws them into the interior center of the clay where it is held in a sort of repository. 
To state it another way…
"Bentonite is a swelling clay. When it becomes mixed with water it rapidly swells open like a highly porous sponge. From here the toxins are drawn into the sponge through electrical attraction and once there, they are bound. 
Typical internal preparations and general guidelines for internal use are…:
Large physical stature: Take one tablespoonful of Bentonite and add it to about eight ounces of liquid and thoroughly mix until the clay is completely combined with the water. 
Medium physical stature: Take one heaping teaspoon of Bentonite and add it to about eight ounces of liquid and thoroughly mix until the clay is completely combined with the water.
Light physical stature: Take one level teaspoon of Bentonite and add it to about eight ounces of liquid and thoroughly mix until the clay is completely combined with the water. 
Typical external preparations and general guidelines are….. 
Add 2-3 ounces of Bentonite clay to your bath and thoroughly mix in, soak and enjoy. 
For external packs add one part clay to three parts water or until you reach desired consistency, mix thoroughly to an even paste and apply to skin area.

Where Does Bentonite Come From?

Bentonite clay is sedimentary clay composed of weathered and aged volcanic ash. The largest and most active deposits.

How Is Bentonite Manufactured?

Bentonite is usually quarry mined from deposits that can range anywhere from 100 feet to several thousand feet. This depends on the health and vitality of the land it is processed from and how far a producer will go to find the right clay with the proper characteristics and consistency. 
From here it is mined from the earth and brought out into the sun to remove excess water and moisture and, to make it easier to work with. After the initial drying begins the final transformation. It gets processed (ground) with huge hydraulic crushers and it then goes through the final process of micronization, or "fine granulating". This is usually done with the assistance of sophisticated and expensive granulators. Upon completion of this final process it gets inspected by a quality control team and is sent off for consumer use.

What Is Sodium Bentonite?

Sodium bentonite is a natural sealant and is used for sealing stock and recreational ponds, dairy and sewage lagoons, and city landfills. It is also effective as a hole plug as well as for controlling dust on highways. Sodium bentonite is one of the "most effective law cost methods" of treating porous soils. It is so effective, that the Federal Government and most states require a liner of sodium bentonite or material comparable, to be used to seal toxic waste lagoons and abandoned water and oil wells. It is environmentally safe, because it contains no chemicals, no additives, nothing toxic.

How Does Sodium Bentonite Work?

Over several years of testing, Sodium bentonite has proven to be one of the most effective sealants on the market. The fact that sodium bentonite swells many times its mass, then forms a strong water and chemical proof seal makes it an ideal, inexpensive, permanent, and easy to install liner. Sodium bentonite is environmentally friendly and safe to use.
There Are Big Differences in "Bentonites"
There are several companies selling bentonite clay for various markets. Some of these companies are misrepresenting their product because the public they are selling to does not know the difference.
If you are considering using Bentonite as a pond sealant, Please read on!
* There are two types of Bentonite clay.
One is a sodium Bentonite. Sodium Bentonite has a natural swelling ability and will maintain its swelling ability throughout its use. 
The other is a calcium Bentonite. Calcium Bentonite is a non-swelling bentonite. It will not swell without additives or chemicals. Calcium bentonite enhanced with additives will quickly lose its swell...It is short lived. 
It is the swelling ability of the sodium bentonite that enables this clay to bond with the soil to create an impenetrable liner in the soil. 
* Bentonite's are mined clays.
The quality of the bentonite deposits will vary. Some deposits of Sodium Bentonite are very high quality swelling deposits, while others are not as good. Some of the best deposits are deep in the ground and will require many man-hours recovering this bentonite.
So a good quality sodium bentonite begins with a good deposit!
* Next, the processing of this clay plays a big part in the quality of the end product.
All bentonites will contain a percentage of other minerals; Aluminum Oxide, Potassium Oxide, Magnesium Oxide, to name a few and a percentage of sand and silt. It is the process of removing the sand and silt from the bentonite that will produce a higher quality product. The process of removing most of the sand and silt takes time and is costly.
Some companies are not interested in producing a quality product. Thus they will use poor deposits of bentonite and process the material quickly enabling them to sell their product at a cheaper price. However, if this product were tested, it would probably result in a large percentage of sand; something a leaky pond does not need.
The key to using bentonite to seal a pond is:
Use a high quality sodium bentonite 
Apply the product properly 
Use the recommended amount based on your soil type and square footage of area being treated. And remember: Cheaper is Not better! 
Bentonite is one of the most unusual and versatile industrial minerals in the world. It has been mined around the world for a long time, but for over 75 years, the most famous deposits have been mined. Bentonite is used in a multitude of industrial, environmental, and consumer products. It is a naturally occurring mineral-based ore known as “swelling” clay that sorbs and retains water at very high levels. “The fine residents of Thick Air have already seen this property from Malone’s mine”, Dr. Ben T. Knight confirmed. The uniqueness of bentonite is due to many geologic factors, but is mainly due to the nature of the primary mineral in the ore, and the relatively high purity of most commercial deposits around the world. 
The primary mineral in bentonite is called montmorillonite. Montmorillonite is a layered, very 2-dimensional aluminum and silicate mineral, which is usually thought to occur as a series of "stacked cards" called platelets. The thickness of the basic mineralogical building block is approximately 1.0 – 1.5 nanometers, or about 50,000 times thinner than a human hair (65um). However, the dimensions of the platelet “face” can be 1-50 um2. The geochemistry of montmorillonite also contributes to the uniqueness of bentonite. Montmorillonite chemical structure is such that there are specific shortfalls in electrostatic charge in the clay which are balanced by other naturally occurring cations like sodium, calcium, and magnesium. These cations are called exchangeable cations and historically have been used to describe specific bentonite deposits around the world. 
There are over 10 million tons of bentonite mined around the world each year, as best as we can figure. These deposits are regarded around the world serving as a benchmark of performance in many different markets. There is a range of bentonite properties developed for commerce, but its behavior as it interacts with water is generally its most well known property. The metalcasting industry adds hydrated bentonite to sand as a glue to hold these types of molds together before, during and after the molten metal is poured into them. “This glue has left footprints all over town”, piped Mr. Weed. Bentonite hydration plays a big part in the use of sodium bentonite in pet litters as well. At times the list of water sorbing applications seem endless, but other examples of common bentonite use are as liner materials for landfills, binders for iron ore processing, suspension agents in oil well drilling, and water-proofing products for building materials.
The bulk of the worldwide bentonite products are calcium bentonites, sodium exchanged calcium bentonites, and mixtures of sodium, calcium and magnesium bentonite.

“Why Bentonite has been known as Cleanser and Detoxifier?”

“Why Bentonite has been known as Cleanser and Detoxifier?” Bentonite powder in the world of alternative medicine is one of the most commonly marketed mineral for the purposes of enteric detoxification and cleansing. Since it is such an absorbent substance, it is believed that Bentonite powder is able to attract and absorb toxins and impurities that may otherwise languish in the intestines for years. These toxins are then expelled normally as waste, and successful results may include relief from stomach discomfort, improved mood, increased energy and healthier eyes, healthier skin and tender hair. Instructions for enteric cleanses will vary, and while some may need the use of Bentonite powder alone, others will require additional substances like psyllium seed husks, which are also highly absorbent and mildly abrasive in the intestines. Bentonite powder is usually taken by being completely dissolved in water and then consumed, and such intestinal cleanse processes usually last two weeks or less.

Bentonite Powder Analyze


Yield Point

16 M3/t Min

Water Loss

15%ml Max


15% Max

Wet Screen

200 mesh 2.5% Max

Dry Screen

100 mesh 98% Min


Characteristics (Advantages) of Bentonite Powder for Oil Drilling:

a) Stabilize the bore hole b) Keep the bore hole in clean c) Control loss of drilling fluid d) Bore hole scavenging for salt water and sweet water e) Cools and lubricates drill bit f) Fast and easy mixing g) Carry rock cuttings to the surface and leave them there h) Withstand formation pressure i) 95 bbl. /ton yield j) Develops good suspension at lower dosage Note: Mixing ratio is based on the fresh water purity. Water quality affect bentonite performance.

“Bentonite in Industry”

Bentonite has high swelling properties along with good viscosity and liquid limit. These properties are highly valued in most of the industrial applications. Sodium bentonite is well suited as a binder in the preparation of pellets, and in foundry and oil - well drilling mud. Bentonite also acts as a suspending agent in oil - well drilling fluids. Bentonite exhibits good green strength along with high hot and dry strength which helps in preventing molds from breaking or cracking during the pouring or cooling processes in the foundry industry. Owing to high green strength resulting from its property to absorb and then release moisture, bentonite is used in iron ore palletization. Sodium-based bentonite of 75 mm size finds suitability in iron ore palletization for bonding by user industries. Bentonite has also remarkable colloidal and waterproofing properties. Bentonite gels are used as a carrier for a number of cosmetic preparations, toothpastes, creams, etc. Bentonite is also used in chemical, rubber, insecticide & pesticide industries and in civil construction works. Bentonite in the form of fine powder free from dirt and other foreign matter and of least swelling property is used in ceramic industry. Source: https://gmdcltd.com