Palygorskite is an aluminum and magnesium silicate characterized by its fibrous morphology, providing it with great versatility in industrial applications, including pharmaceuticals. Although most of the reserves are in the United States, in recent years occurrences of commercially exploited deposits in Brazil have been recorded, mainly in the country's northeast region. This has motivated this study, which analyzes raw Brazilian palygorskite compared to a commercial sample (Pharmasorb((R)) colloidal) to demonstrate its pharmaceutical potential. The chemical and mineral composition of the samples were evaluated for surface properties, granulometry, morphology, crystallography, thermal analysis, and spectroscopy. Raw palygorskite presented 67% purity, against 74% for Pharmasorb((R)) colloidal. The percentage purity relates to the presence of contaminants, mainly carbonates and quartz (harmless under conventional conditions of pharmaceutical use). Furthermore, it was possible to confirm the chemical composition of these phyllosilicates, formed primarily of silicon, aluminum, and magnesium oxides. The crystallographic and spectroscopic profiles were consistent in both samples, showing characteristic peaks for palygorskite (2 theta = 8.3 degrees) and bands attributed to fibrous phyllosilicates below 1200 cm(-1), respectively. The thermal analysis allowed the identification of the main events of palygorskite, with slight differences between the evaluated samples: loss of water adsorbed onto the surface (similar to 85 degrees C), removal of water contained in the channels (similar to 200 degrees C), coordinated water loss (similar to 475 degrees C), and, finally, the dehydroxylation (>620 degrees C). The physicochemical characteristics of raw palygorskite align with pharmacopeial specifications, exhibiting a high specific surface area (122 m(2)/g), moderately negative charge (-13.1 mV), and compliance with the required limits for heavy metals and arsenic. These favorable technical attributes indicate promising prospects for its use as a pharmaceutical ingredient in the production of medicines and cosmetics.
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