The most important of these are aluminium and zinc, which are converted into aluminate, Al(OK,Na) 3, and zincate, Zn(OK,Na) 2, respectively.
The solution of sodium aluminate, containing aluminium oxide and sodium oxide in the molecular proportion of 6 to 1, is next agitated for thirty-six hours with a small quantity of hydrated alumina previously obtained, which causes the liquor to decompose, and some 70% of the aluminium hydroxide to be thrown down.
Potassium aluminate, K 2 Al 2 0 4, is obtained in solution by dissolving aluminium hydrate in caustic potash; it is also obtained, as crystals containing three molecules of water, by fusing alumina with potash, exhausting with water, and crystallizing the solution in vacuo.
Sodium aluminate is obtained in the manufacture of alumina; it is used as a mordant in dyeing, and has other commercial applications.
The two principal minerals are termed alite and celite; according to the best opinion, alite consists of a solid solution of tricalcium aluminate in tricalcium silicate, and celite of a solid solution of dicalcium aluminate in dicalcium silicate.
Since alite is a solid solution and, although an individual mineral, is not a chemical unit, the proportion of tricalcium silicate to tricalcium aluminate in a given specimen of alite will vary; but, whatever the proportions, each of these substances will react in its characteristic manner according to the equations given above.
It is generally admitted that the aluminate is the chief agent in the first setting of the cement, and that its ultimate hardening and attainment of strength are due to the tricalcium silicate.
As mentioned above, the constituents other than the tricalcium silicate and tricalcium aluminate of which alite is composed, are of minor importance.
It has a remarkable retarding effect on the hydration of the calcium aluminate, and consequently on the setting of the cement; thus it is that a little gypsum is often added to convert a naturally quick-setting cement into one which sets slowly.
This means that portion which neutralizes the acid employed for testing, and the degrees mean the percentage of Na 2 O thus found, whether it be present as Na 2 CO 3, NaOH, or sodium aluminate or silicate.
Associated with franklinite at Franklin Furnace, and found also at some other localities, is another member of the spinel group, namely, gahnite or zinc-spinel, which is a zinc aluminate, ZnAl 2 O 4, with a little of the zinc replaced by iron and manganese.
By this means, sodium aluminate is formed; it is then extracted with water and precipitated either by sodium bicarbonate or by passing a current of carbon dioxide through the solution.
The constituent of next importance is an aluminate, but whether this is dicalcium aluminate, 2CaO Al 2 0 3, or tricalcium aluminate, 3CaO-Al 2 0 3, is still in doubt.
In order to prepare pure alumina, bauxite and sodium carbonate were heated in a furnace until the reaction was complete; the product was then extracted with water to dissolve the sodium aluminate, the solution treated with carbon dioxide, and the precipitate removed and dried.
All the by-products, potassium sulphate, sulphur and aluminate of iron, were capable of recovery, and were claimed to reduce the cost of the oxide materially.