Characterization and potential upgrading of El-Zaafarana White Sand by Attrition scrubbing


Ahmed Al-Abady,
Ahmed Ibrahim Al-Abady, Corresponding Author


White sand deposits are the most widely used non-metallic minerals in various industrial applications, and this explains the significant increase in demand for them, especially in recent years. Almost all countries of the world produce silica sand deposits, but high purity silica sand deposits are produced from a few sites in the world. This is the main reasons for the continuous research studies of the methods used in the treatment of silica sand deposits to match their chemical and physical specifications with industrial requirements. Egypt has many silica sand localities, among these silica sand localities, and the most important is the El-Zaafarana area. Unfortunately, not many studies have been conducted on this region. In our study, Sibelco Egypt Co. supplied samples from that area. Samples are well prepared in order to obtain fully representative sample. In addition, a complete characterization was performed to show the physical, chemical and mineral characteristics of the silica sand deposits occurring in that area. This characterization included a dry sieving analysis of the samples that were prepared, and then the sample was introduced to a mineralogical study to provide more details about the shape and size of the grains and the nature of associated impurities. An X-ray diffraction analysis was performed on the original sample to find out the predominant mineral phases in it. Moreover, an XRF analysis was conducted to accurately determination of the amount of impurities present in the sample and the silica content. A sand sample subjected to Attrition scrubbing process, the best condition of the Attrition scrubbing process was determined based on preliminary experiments in order to determine the optimal conditions for the washing process, which were determined for a time of 30 min., a speed of 3000 rpm, and a solid-to-liquid ratio of 25%. The whole bulb of the attrition product subjected to wet mechanical sieving and separation on a 25 micron sieve. Fraction of + 25 micron of the attrition product characterized by XRF, while the – 25 micron fraction characterized by XRD and mineralogical study by using an optical microscope. The obtained results of our study indicated that, the physical and chemical specifications of the white sand samples was improved. Silica content increasing from 95.69 % to 97.0518 %, in addition to, decreasing of the main impurities such as, iron content and alumina content from to 0.2379 % and 0.6619 % respectively 0.0455 % and 0.1921 % respectively.