Airdate: Feb 04, 2020
Scientist: Paul Schroeder
It Comes in Many Guises
Wherever you may be right now, odds are you're not far from clay in one form or another.
Clay Many GuisesWherever you may be right now, odds are you're not far from clay in one of its many forms. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.Schroeder: Every time you open a magazine, that shiny coating is a clay coating that is put on top of the paper, which prevents the ink from bleeding into the paper. it gives you a nice sharp crisp image. So certainly all paper that's around you has it.Paul Schroeder is professor of Geology at the University of Georgia.Schroeder: It's use in the wall paints. So whatever color you've chosen - there's probably a base of clay in there. If you're looking at your computer keyboard, there's probably some plastic that contains clay. Clay is used as a filler because it adds both weight and imparts properties to material. So many of the products we use today are not just a single material. It's a composite of materials that give - beneficial thermal properties, beneficial strength properties in addition to things like color that are more aesthetically pleasing to people - that make it better.For example, people love to drink carbonated beverages, like sodas, and we like to have nice clear plastic - we know plastic's an issue unto itself - but we like to have plastic bottles. That plastic is actually quite porous and all the fizz would come out of the soda, but by adding half a percent of clay to the plastic, it vastly improves the shelf life of that carbonated beverage. Adobe is a good example of taking clay and earth material and mixing in something like straw, which gives it strength from breaking. So adobe is this natural mixture of something which gives both compressive strength from clay and tensile strength from the straw or whatever might be added to the Adobe.So, raising a glass of bubbly water in honor of clay! Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology and the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.