Thursday, July 20, 2017

Bentonite lab cleanup continues

Originally posted 10.27.14, updated


The tarp is up, and as usual, it looks like hell.  However, the shade did give an interesting result, but not the result I was looking for.  During the hot part of the day, the shade feels better outside, than what it feels like in the trailer.  Get some wind going, and a shady spot is not bad outside.

But this trailer is still getting hot.  I don't think the tarps have helped much.  They didn't cost much, either, so the loss is small.

It is tempting to keep working at this.  But the temptation is to go buy a lot of stuff, which is what I am trying to avoid.  Right now, the idea du jour  is to use the misting system combined with this shade,  to see if I can make a place to sit in the afternoon.  This may sound crazy, but it may be worth trying.  If not, the misting system may cool things down for the trailer.  Maybe.  Also, it uses a lot of water, and I am trying to avoid that, too.

Could the Bentonite mixture work for adobe bricks?  It does make a clayey mixture.  Mix up some straw with it, and what would be the results?  This is why I tried the experiment in the first place.  The downside is that this Bentonite was not cheap.  Low concentration mixtures didn't make a rock like hardness.  Bentonite was really not for this purpose anyway.  It was an idea, that is all.  I'd say no, at this point.


There was almost all of the box of Bentonite remaining.  So, I decided to make use of it.  It does indeed make a clayish mixture.  As for the experiment back then, I discovered that it will harden into a rocky kind of stuff that will crumble under pressure.

The thing I did today was to mix it all up with dirt, and then apply it to a bucket that is being used for supporting a tarp.  The bucket is secured to the ground with a four foot rebar driven into the ground.  The bucket of bentonite mixture is supporting a board that is in it.  The board is stapled to the rebar.

On top of the board is another board.   This board is supporting a tarp laying over it.  I am hoping to get some relief from the ferocious sun.  So far so good.  However, I don't know how long it will last.  my carpentry skills leave much to be desired.

The original post follows:

Actually, the cleanup is at least as interesting as the experiment itself.

What I want from the experiment is some "bricks" that can be used for my drill.  I want to know what my drill is capable of before I go out West and do some drilling with it.  I want to see if it can go through some pretty tough stuff.  That's what the Bentonite was for.  It is a type of clay, and clay can be used to make adobe bricks ( along with sand, which I have plenty left over ).

After making the mixture, I am left with a mess, which I clean up with water.  This gave me the idea to do another water filtration test.  What I have found so far is that with even a little clay in the filter, your filter is screwed.  No more filtering water with clay in it.  Ever.

So, I tried something else.  I put the unfilterable water in a pan and I put the pan on the stove.  The heat evaporated the water and left the sandy/clay mixture behind.  I gathered that up and, along with some other stuff I got from another pan, and placed them into a cupcake mold.  Now I have three potential bricks for my further experimentations.

The water could have been recovered with a dehumidifier.  So, there's not very much waste here.  The mixture makes bricks, the water and equipment are reused, the "dirt" is recovered to be used again.

This is an object lesson in recycling, in case you don't quite get it.

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