Aluminium hydroxide occurs in nature as hydrargillite mineral, which means water and clay. It has both basic and acidic properties and thus is amphoteric in nature. It is represented as Al(OH)3. It is a typical metal oxide with hydroxyl bonds. It consists double layers of hydroxyl group with aluminium ions occupying two-thirds of the octahedral spaces between the layers.
Aluminium hydroxide is a starting material for manufacturing other aluminium compounds like Aluminium sulphate, aluminium chloride, activated alumina and so on. Freshly obtained aluminium hydroxide precipitate as gels, which can used as flocculants. When the gel is dried, aluminium hydroxide powder is obtained.
Some of the applications of aluminium hydroxide are:
- Aluminium hydroxide is an antacid for humans and animals.
- Aluminium hydroxide is the basic material for many aluminium compounds. In industries, it is added to cement to facilitate the drying. It is also used for the production of ceramic and glass as it can increase the melting point of glass.
- Aluminium hydroxide acts as an extender and gelling agent in the manufacturing of paper.
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