Red Sludge

On October 4, 2010, at 12.10 PM the dam of reservoir no. 10 of alumina plant of MAL Hungarian Aluminium (MAL Zrt.) collapsed causing a catastrophe without precedent. The sour cream like, highly alkaline thick mud flooded the area of Kolontár and Devecser near the reservoir. The damage caused casualties, injuries, psychological trauma and quite serious property damage.

The news went around the world and much ambiguous information came to light concerning the disaster. Besides the efforts taken to solve the situation and to reduce the damages, investigation has been started to uncover what led to the occurrence of the tragedy and what are those main direct and indirect effects that the experts who work on minimising the damages and (last but not least) the people concerned have to reckon with.
Exploration and evaluation of the causes and consequences require further investigation, so this section will not deal with these, but with some phenomena related to the production of red sludge (and to the use of aluminium).

Cleaning the red sludge is difficult; the inhalation of the dried red sludge can be harmful to the health. (One of its reasons is its grain size; the other is its high alkalinity.)
During the following experiment we get to know distinct features of sludge. After conducting the experiment summarise your results, estimations and explanation in a record.