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Issue 483, 5 June 2002

Cleaning with clay

Leeds researchers will be cleaning up with clay, in a collaboration with the University of Tsinghua in Beijing.

The project, funded through the department for international development, will develop the environmental applications of certain clay minerals, which have properties making them useful in containing or treating many different wastes or contaminants. These minerals are rare in the UK, but found in poor mountainous areas of China's Hebei province.

Pictured are (l-r) Tsinghua University's Professor Yuan Guangyu, Chris McDonald, Zhang Shixen of Xuanhua county people's government, Hebei Province and site manager Mike Winterbottom, during a recent visit to Skelton Grange landfill site in Leeds.

As well as the scientific and engineering research, the project will also look at issues such as processing, manufacture, transport, packaging, installation, investment and intellectual property rights.

Project coordinator Dr Chris McDonald said: "The clay products we hope to develop jointly with the Chinese will allow countries to tackle their contaminated land, and provide for proper waste management and pollution control with considerable benefits for ecology and community health. Close involvement with product development will also ensure our scientists and technologists remain among world leaders in the environmental applications of clay minerals."

At Leeds, the project involves civil engineering, LUBS, East Asian studies, textiles & design, mining and mineral engineering and chemistry.

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