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Clay -Effect of Process Variables on the Absorptive Abilities

The Effect of Process Variables on the Absorptive Abilities of Acid Activated Clays (Ibusa and Karaworo) 


The demand for alternative local raw material to improved quality of crude palm oil necessitated the need for  this research, “the effect of process variables on the adsorptive abilities of Ibusa clay in Delta state and Kwaraworo clay in kogi state”. This research was carried out to study the effect of different factors on the adsorptive abilities of local clay samples. This was achieved through the use of clay obtained from Karaworo (Lat 7’15N, Long 6’5E) in Kogi state and Ibuza (Lat 6’11N, Long 6’38E) in Delta state. The experiment started with the sourcing of the materials (clays and crude palm oil), preparation (drying, grinding and sieving) and chemical activation of the different clay samples using nitric acids (HNO3) and Hydrochloric acid (HCl) at four different molar concentrations. However, the adsorptive abilities of the activated clays to adsorbed colour pigment in palm oil were followed after degumming and neutralization of the palm oil and the effect of the process variables were thereafter studied. The adsorbance of the adsorptive abilities of clay on bleached oil at different intervals was measured and compared to the adsorbance of adsorptive abilities of clay in unbleached oil in other to determine the extent of adsorption of the colour pigment in the oil. However, after the analysis, it was found that acid concentration and temperature greatly affected the yield for both processes and the optimum conditions that gave the best yield tor both clays samples are 5M acid concentration, 75µm particle size at temperature of 100oC and time interval of 3minutes.



Palm oil is a flesh fruit fat with a distinctive orange-red colour, due to its high content of carotenoids. Palm oil being a major source of vegetable fats is used extensively in cooking, cosmetics and in the manufacture of soap. Crude palm oil is found to contain pigment likes carotenes and impurities like free fatty acids. When processing vegetable oils, the bleaching operation is an important step intended to remove pigments and other unwanted constituents such as those of mucilaginous character and other volatiles (Christidis et al., 1997). Many types of adsorbent have been tested for the removal of pigments from vegetable oil (Kamga et al., 2000; Falaras et al., 2000; Topallar, 1998; Proctor and Snyder, 1988; Kheok and Lim, 1982). Adsorption materials used nowadays throughout the world by vegetable oil refiners are mainly activated montmorillonite clays. Christidis and Kosiari (2003) showed that removal of β-Carotene from crude maize oil with acid activated low grade bentonite from Cyprus is a chemical adsorption process. The isotherm they obtained was of the Freundlich type. None of the above studies mentioned the adsorption of free fatty acids during the decolourisation process. Moreover other authors pointed that the bleaching process led to increased in the free fatty acids content of the vegetable oil. More recently (Bike Mbah et al., 2005),it is already known that the acid activated clay from Cameroon could be used successfully for the adsorption of pigments and free fatty acids of Shea butter. The high value of the activation energies obtained indicated that the adsorption of Shea butter pigment was of a chemical nature. It is the purpose of this contribution to study the mechanism of the simultaneous adsorption of carotene and free fatty acids of palm oil, by means of kinetics, with determination of activation energy and construction of the adsorption isotherm.

There are two (2) major type of adsorption process which is clearly distinguished in their reaction on surfaces. The first which is known as physical adsorption is achieved as a result of intermolecular forces of attraction between molecules of solid and the substances adsorbed. It is as a result of Van der Waals forces. This type of adsorption is accompanied by small amount of heat, usually less than 20kj/mol (Christidis G. E et al., 1997), in the second type of adsorption reaction, first considered molecules in 1916 by Langmuir stated that, in adsorbed molecules. The heat evolved in this type of adsorption reaction is comparable to that evolved during chemical reaction.

Adsorption process is one of the ways by which various adsorbents like carbon, silica gel and activated clay are used to purify crude palm oil. Adsorbent should be one that will change the tint of the oil without altering the chemical properties of the oil (Purvis, 1975; Parker1987; www.fullerseearth.com, 2005).Several adsorbents, especially clays that have been studied in recent times at various process variables. Clays that have been studied include raw clays, acid activated clays and alkaline activated clays. Adsorption process involves a mass concentration of the colour pigment at the interface between the fluid and the adsorbent. it is achieved as a result of intermolecular forces between molecules of solid and the substances adsorbed and is readily reversible (Richardson, Harke and Backhurst, 2002).

P/(x⁄m) =1/a   + ( b/a )P……………………(1)


P =     Equilibrium pressure for a given amount of substance adsorbed

X           =     amount of substance adsorbent, a and b =Constant

The mathematical expression relating to the capacity of the adsorbent to the solute is directly related to the concentration of the dissolved materials. This is expressed by Freundlich adsorption equation given by

X/m =   KCn  …………………..(2)


X      = Amount of substance adsorbed

M   =Amount of adsorbent

C    =Concentration of residual substance

Expressing in logarithmic form

log (x\m) =nlogc + logC +logk

A log-log plot of x\m versus C gives a straight line which has slope n and intercept of K.

Boki et al applied Langmuir and Freundlich equation to the adsorption isotherm of β-carotene on montmortillnite, sepolite and standard activated clay from alkali refined rapeseed oil. The bleaching activity of clay is strongly dependent on the nature of the clay site its surface area available for adsorption as it regards the material to be bleached.


This project work is limited to:

  1. To study the effect of adsorptive abilities of the clay samples obtained from Kwaraworo in kogi state and Ibusa in Delta state in the bleaching of palm oil under different conditions.3.     To compare the adsorptive abilities of the local clays using palm oil.
  2. 4.     To determine which of the clays has a higher adsorptive ability with the given oil sample at the same time.
  3. 2.     To determine the process variables (factors) that must affect the adsorptive abilities of the local clays.


  1. To characterize the clays.
  2. To study adsorptive abilities of the clay samples (Kwaraworo in kogi state and Ibusa in Delta state) on palm oil under different conditions.
  3. To study the effect of process variable and adsorptive rate of local clays (Ibusa in Delta state and Kwaraworo in kogi state).
  4. To compare the adsorptive abilities of the two local clay samples using palm oil.
  5. To determine which of the clays has a higher adsorptive ability with the given oil samples at the same conditions.


The research work is immensely important because the results and equations obtained in the study can be used in industries that use activated clay as adsorptive material.

The determination of the effect of process variables affecting the adsorptive abilities of   local clays using locally made palm oil will also enhance the exportation of our local clays to other countries. Due to the need to encourage and promote our local products in small scale industries by the Federal Government, it is now necessary to develop our local clays for industrial use.


This research work will contribute to the knowledge in the area of finding and developing adsorption equation, models and important factors that affect local clays in terms of their adsorptive abilities. There will be also a contribution to the knowledge and providing source for indigenous technology and further encourages the exportation of clays to other part of the world.

—This article is incomplete———–This article is incomplete———— It was extracted from a well articulated quality Project, Research Work/Material

Project Topic: The Effect of Process Variables on the Absorptive Abilities of Acid Activated Clays (Ibusa and Karaworo) 

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