One of the primary uses of aluminum hydroxide is as feedstock for the manufacture of several other industrially relevant chemicals.
Gels produced using freshly precipitated aluminum hydroxide are first converted to amorphous powders by dehydration. These powders are heated under controlled ambient conditions to produce activated alumina – a desiccant used as a Claus catalyst support in the water purification process and as a catalyst adsorbent in the Sclairtech process for the manufacture of polyethylene.
Other chemicals produced using aluminum hydroxide include aluminium sulfate, polyaluminium chloride (PAC), zeolites, activated alumina and aluminium nitrate.Aside from its use as a starting material for production of other important chemicals, the ability of aluminum hydroxide to adsorb compounds onto its surface makes it useful in ion-exchange processes and in filter mediums.
In the pharmaceuticals industry, aluminum hydroxide is commonly used as an antacid for relief from ulcers, heartburn and/or dyspepsia. It is preferred to other commonly used chemicals since it does not increase the pH of the stomach beyond 7, thus preventing the occurrence of other undesirable effects. Commercially, aluminium hydroxide based antacids are sold under brand names including Alu-Cap, Gaviscon, Pepsamar and Gelusil. Other products such as Maalox include equal concentrations of aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide, providing combined antacid and laxative effects.
In the textile industry, aluminum hydroxide finds its use as a mordant in the dyeing process. When precipitated with a dye mixture, aluminum hydroxide enables the fixing of the stain onto the material. The insoluble precipitate can then be filtered off.
Aside from its primary uses as stated above, aluminum hydroxide can also be used as a fire retardant and smoke suppressant, especially for polymer applications. It is capable of decomposing at 180 °C, absorbing a large amount of heat and successfully preventing fires. It is commonly used as a fire retardant during the manufacture of chemicals like polyesters, acrylics, PVC and rubber.
Production of aluminum chemicals :
Major products include alum (aluminum sulfate), poly aluminum chloride (PAC), sodium aluminate, zeolites, aluminum fluoride. A raw material in the manufacture of glass, glazes and frits.
A raw material in catalyst production :
A flame retardant and smoke suppressant filler in plastics like: cables, rubber products and carpet backing. A raw material for fertilizers, and fibre cement board products.
An extender and bodying agentin paper, solvent- and water-borne paints, UV curable coatings, inks, and adhesives. A polishing and cleansing agent, mould wash and separating agent A filler of cast polymer products such as onyx and solid surfaces.