Bentonite may replace cement
Scientists are working to use bentonite to make sturdy, new-age construction material that is sustainable and eco-friendly. Found only in four states in India - Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir - bentonite (also called montmorillonite) is also edible and is undergoing trials to remove pollutants from air and water.
"It has been used for various purposes but my aim is to use it to possibly replace existing harmful building materials in the near future, among other uses," said Chintan Jani, a scientist who is working with the wonder clay - bentonite to give a different dimension to different products currently in use.
"Truly, it's all about clay futures as the potential of this material is far-reaching. Using different processing techniques, bentonite can be used to prepare structural as well as aesthetic objects of a large variety of forms, sizes and functions," Jani said. However, it is important to remember that environmental sustainability should be of the foremost concern while designing products, services and all other elements of our urban surroundings, he added. "The clay also offers recyclability and biodegradability; two very essential properties which should be expected of modern materials. It can be used as a binder in construction material and when separated from it, becomes a gel-like substance," Jani concluded.