Expanded Clay Aggregate (ECA) is a natural element that has many good properties to help maintain fragile surroundings. The main benefit of ECA is that it does not cost a fortune. It helps protect our environment and hence has several applications in many different fields like landscaping, outdoor sports courts, wastewater treatment, walls, roofs & flooring, railway & metro.
What is Expanded Clay Aggregate?
Light Expanded Clay Aggregate, (ECA or LECA) is a hard honeycombed structure within the aggregate that possess interconnecting voids. To manufacture this round pellet structure, natural clay is heated to 1200 C. This has excellent drainage capacity since the intragranular pores can absorb water. The other properties include that it is light in weight, helps with aeration, helps conserves water, prevents roots from rotting, and are nontoxic and environmentally friendly.
Applications in Oil & Gas Industry
Several countries around the world have a booming Oil & Gas industry. This industry is known for a large number of hazardous materials, chemicals, radioactive substances. Thus, this wastewater effluent is highly contaminated and can potentially contaminate any other water system it comes in contact with.
ECA has several applications in this industry as per the list here:
- An oil spill from crude oil results in several types of pollutants in the water like Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH), etc.
- ECA can effectively purify water contaminated by crude oil and other radioactive material.
- It has a high functioning intensity; thus making it optimal for oilfield as a down-hole proppant.
- ECA is an environmental protection product that helps increase the output of oil and gas.
- It can absorb heavy metals present in petrochemical effluents very efficiently.
- It is comparatively more cost-effective.
- This is a non-toxic, environmentally friendly, odorless, and natural product.
Benefits of using Expanded Clay Aggregate
- It has a microporous structure that ensures better aeration.
- This product has good water absorption property and excellent water drainage as well.
- ECA assures good thermal insulation and excellent sound insulation. It will retain its thermal as well as physical characteristics even in extreme heat.
- It is fire resistance since it is a completely non-combustible material as well as earthquake resistant.
- It is recyclable hence no issues disposing of the waste.
- All the properties of ECA stay intact no matter where it is being used, like in Northern European countries in freezing temperatures or at the equator in blistering heat.
- Expanded Clay Aggregate( ECA) is stored with flammable liquids like (oil & gas) prior to burning to ensure the risk in case of an accident decreases.
- It increases the durability of a tank made for storage in an acidic and base environment since it has a neutral pH and also makes it incombustible and fire resistant.
- When Oil & gas are mixed with ECA, it becomes weather resistant as well as resistant to thaw cycles.
- A tank of oil is vulnerable to heat from the ground, however, the thermal resistance between the tank and the ground is increased by using ECA
- It is also useful as bedding and insulator media for underground oil and gas pipeline. It reduces the risk of laying an oil and gas pipeline.
There are many applications of expanded clay aggregate in India because it is highly durable, long lasting and does not require any maintenance. It is also 100% inert, has a high compressive strength, and is light in weight. Although it is very strong, it can help reduce the weight of concrete by over 50 percent.