Saturday, November 1, 2014

Bentonite-water filtration lab 2

This is going into the new series that is a spinoff from the off-the-grid series.  It is about digging post holes and the first post is here.  The previous post here.  The next post will be here when I add it.

The current lab, which is written about in this post, partly involves making bricks out of bentonite and sand.  The first test used the sand I got originally for the water filtration test.  It didn't drain well, so I bought another batch of sand, which is free of clay.  The water filtration went well with this batch of sand.  That's the sand I'll be using on this attempt.

I used the same amount of sand/bentonite mix, which is 6 parts sand, and 1 part bentonite.  The procedure I used was to place the six parts sand into a pan and slowly add water.  It turned out that 6 ounces of water turned the sand into a slurry.  To that I added the bentonite, or should I say, I added the slurry to the bentonite.  I worked the slurry/bentonite mix as long as I could with a plastic spoon, but it became too unmanageable, so I used my hands.  This time, I was wearing gloves, which simplified the cleanup.

After working the mixture for awhile, I noticed that it was getting pretty thick, so I poured it into its mold.  The mold is the lower half of a 2 liter Dr. Pepper bottle.  It seems to want to have a lot of voids, so I worked it carefully so that the voids were filled in.

I put the mold into the sun on the balcony.  The last one is still there and it is still drying.  As I mentioned, not too good of a result.

Cleanup went a lot easier.  I used about 10 ounces of water to clean up the pans.  I collected the water and will try filtering it again.  It is very bad water at this point.  It is not expected to be worthwhile to get the water completely clean.  So, I'll go easy on the water filtration part of the lab.

It may well be useful to go over the objectives for this lab:
  1. Learn how to make adobe bricks
  2. Find out how the drill responds to different types of these bricks
  3. Learn something about how to recycle the materials---such as water, sand, and bentonite
  4. Use those findings in helping me make my post holes at da ranch.
Cleanup will continue and if anything worthwhile comes up, I'll mention it.


Cleanup yielded about a cupcake's worth of sand/bentonite.  The mixture is going to dry slowly, if indications hold up.   It doesn't look like I mentioned above that I added 4 ounces of water along with the 6 ounces that got the sand to form a slurry.  The extra 4 ounces were added after the slurry and bentonite were mixed together.  The reason it may take a long time to dry is that it may have been just a little too much water after the bentonite was added.  Instead of 4, maybe 3 1/2 ounces.

No water could be saved from the cleanup.  That's 10 ounces for the cleanup, and 10 ounces for the mixture.

Other than that, everything looks good.

A bit off topic:  I checked out the PVC page and that pipe is going to cost more than I thought.  It may be worthwhile to think that one over just a bit.


No comments: