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How do you get water out of a rock?


How do you get water out of a rock?  Easy – if that rock is a zeolite!

In 1756, Swedish scientist Axel Cronstedt discovered that heating stilbite (a natural zeolite species) to a high temperature caused the rock to steam, as if there was water inside it.  Cronstedt coined the term “zeolite”, a combination of the Greek words for “to boil” (zeo) and “stone” (lithos).  We now know that the structure of zeolite can ‘trap’ and hold water molecules.

Zeolites are composed of molecules of oxygen, aluminum, and silica that form interlinked tetrahedra.  These structures are like molecular cages, which can trap and hold other molecules such as water.

The zeolite cages retain the water and release it slowly, making zeolite a very useful addition to soils and growth media. Zeolite can also be pretreated with elemental nutrients such as potassium; the zeolite holds the potassium and releases it slowly into the soil, making it an effective slow release fertilizer.

The stable tetrahedra structure of zeolite provides the additional benefit of soil aeration.  Zeolite, unlike other mineral additives, does not break down over time.  Adding a soil amendment like Absorbent Products’ Green Patch™ increases the soil’s porosity and allows more oxygen to reach the plant root systems.

There are 40 naturally occurring zeolite species, and over 200 more that have been created artificially. Natural zeolites were formed thousands to millions of years ago, in areas where volcanic rock and ash reacted with alkaline groundwater.  Synthetic zeolites can be ‘custom-made’ so that their tetrahedra are specifically shaped to encapsulate the target material.  Due to this, synthetic zeolites are used in a wide variety of industrial applications, from petrochemical processing to nuclear radiation remediation.

One particular natural species of zeolite, called clinoptilolite, has a strong exchange affinity for ammonium.  This makes it an excellent odour absorber when used for cat litter and livestock bedding, as ammonia is trapped and held.  Absorbent Products’ line of zeolite treatments for animal waste management, such as Horse Sense™ and Poultry Sense™, are all made from our deposit of natural clinoptilolite located in the mountains of southern British Columbia.  For more information on the many uses of zeolite and our products, give us a call!

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Environmentally Friendly Ice Melt

During the winter months it is important to keep walkways, driveways and other foot paths clear of snow and ice. But what is the best way to do this?

Many ice-melting products are undesirable due to the fact that they contain chemicals that can be hazardous to the environment.

Rock salt is the most commonly used form of ice melt, however it can also cause considerable damage or even death to plants and vegetation in areas near the treated surface. Salt may not work as well during extremely cold weather, as it is most effective at temperatures just below the freezing point. As well, it can take twice as much rock salt to get the same results that other ice melting products can provide.

Fertilizer is also often used as an ice melter. This, however, is not highly recommended as it is often washed away into gutters, storm drains, lakes, streams and reservoirs where it affects water quality.

When battling ice and snow, it is best to use an ice melter with ingredients that are environmentally friendly. For example, Diamond Glacier Ice Melt products contain calcium chloride. This ingredient is used by highways departments for de-icing roads and highways and controlling dust on gravel roads. Calcium chloride is also used as a food additive as well as a fertilizer in agriculture, making it safe for vegetation and the environment.

Glacier Blue and Glacier Green soluble markers are also used in Diamond Glacier products. This ingredient is an environmentally inert dye that shows where product is applied in order to help reduce over-application. The dye is water-soluble and UV sensitive and leaves no color residue.

Environmentally friendly ice melt products such as Diamond Glacier Ice Melt will not harm vegetation, properly air-entrained concrete or pets, when used as directed.

Please note: Beware of manufacturers who claim complete safety to plants, as any ice melt product can harm vegetation with over application.

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Bentonite: The Solution to Plumbers Cracks

Bentonite is known for its amazing absorbent and swelling properties. In fact, bentonite can absorb nearly five times its weight in water and at full saturation will occupy a volume of 12 to 15 times that of its dry bulk weight. Once dry, bentonite will shrink to its original volume and can be wetted, swelled and dried an infinite number of times (if the water being absorbed is fairly pure).

Due to these properties, bentonite works well as a sealant for plumbing cracks in concrete. When spread in the void, the bentonite will swell when it comes in contact with water, forming an impermeable seal.

The rate at which the bentonite swells depends on factors such as granulation and the application method used. All grades will expand slowly when water is poured on them however, if the bentonite is poured into the water it will expand much faster. As well, fine powdered bentonite will absorb water slowly while intermediate sized bentonite will absorb water more rapidly.

Bentonite is a quick and inexpensive sealant for nearly any plumbers crack!

For more information on betonite please contact us using the form below.

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Oil and Gas in Canada


1778 – Peter Pond reported the discovery of oil in Canada.

The oil sands in Alberta had been used by Aboriginal people for many years as a caulking material as well as for other purposes. However, Peter Pond was the first non-native explorer to report the discovery of oil in Canada. The area in which he made this discovery is now known as the Athabasca oil sands, located in northeastern Alberta.

1883 – Canadian Pacific Railway drilled the first gas well in Alberta.

While looking for water, gas was struck in Alderson, Alberta. Unfortunately, when the gas was struck, the well caught fire and burned the rig down. The well was abandoned until gas was struck again one year later at a well just eight feet away. This well was in operation for approximately forty years after being discovered.

1858 – James Miller Williams dug the first oil well in North America.

One year before the famous discovery of oil by Edwin Drake in Pennsylvania, James Miller Williams developed the first commercial oil wells in Oil Springs and Petrolia, Ontario.

The project was initially intended as a water well but instead oil was discovered twenty meters below the surface.

The Formation of Oil and Gas

Oil and gas form when sedimentary rock is exposed to heat and pressure over millions of years.

Sedimentary rock forms when deposits of tiny plants and animals along with mud and silt harden. When exposed to heat and pressure, the soft parts of these plants and animals slowly transform into crude oil and natural gas.

Regions of Sedimentary Rock in Canada

Canada has seven distinct regions of sedimentary rock. These regions span across the country, with portions of regions included in every province and territory.

Western Canada Sedimentary Basin

The Western Canada Sedimentary Basin is the most productive region in Canada. This area spans to include most of Alberta and Saskatchewan as well as parts of British Columbia, Manitoba, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Atlantic Margin

Major offshore crude oil and natural gas deposits were discovered in the Atlantic Margin in the 1960s. These deposits extend along the East Coast from Baffin Island down to US waters.

Arctic Cratonic and Arctic Margin

Crude oil and natural gas deposits have been identified in this area which includes the Arctic Islands, Beaufort Sea and Mackenzie Delta. Development, however, has been slow due to many deterring factors such as location, cost and regulatory processes.

Eastern Cratonic

Crude oil and natural gas production has been occurring in this area since the 1800s. This area reaches across Manitoba, Nunavut, Ontario, Quebec, the Maritime provinces and Newfoundland and



To date, only oil and gas exploration has occurred in this area. The Intermontane sedimentary rocks occur in British Columbia and the Yukon between the Canadian Rockies and the West Coast mountain ranges.

Pacific Margin

In 1972, the Canadian government halted all offshore drilling in this area in order to protect it from oil spills. Since this time no exploration has occurred. The Pacific Margin can be found off of the coast of BC.

Canada has a long history of oil and gas production and is currently the third largest natural gas producer and sixth largest crude oil producer in the world.

To learn more about Canada’s Oil and Gas industry, emerging technologies, products and services, and leading expertise in the field, check out the Gas & Oil Expo in Calgary, Alberta June 11 – 13, 2013.

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Bentonite Clay for Emergency Roof Repair

Severe weather can cause many problems including damage to your roof. In many cases, sudden and unexpected weather creates damage that calls for emergency repair. In the case of a leak, there are many emergency repair techniques that can be used however a common method is the use of bentonite clay. In fact, many roofing companies use bentonite clay for this purpose.

Bentonite is known for its absorptive qualities, with an ability to absorb up to several times its own weight in water. When saturated, bentonite will expand and bond to the membrane surface of a roof, forming a water impermeable seal to help keep water out until a permanent solution can be put in place.

In emergency situations, it is important to stop water from entering the building as well as the roof system. By creating a temporary seal with bentonite you can prevent damage to insulation and to the other surrounding roof components.

Please note: Prior to permanent repair, the bentonite must be entirely removed from the membrane surface.

In the case of damage to your roof and the need for emergency repairs, please consult a professional.

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