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Vermiculite


VERMICULITE

Vermiculite is the mineralogical name given to hydrated laminar magnesium-aluminum-ironsilicate which resembles mica in appearance. All vermiculite ores contain a range of other minerals that were formed along with the vermiculite in the rock. Vermiculite ores from some sources have been found to contain asbestos minerals but asbestos is not intrinsic to vermiculite and only a few ore bodies have been found to contain more than tiny trace amounts.

Vermiculite mines are surface operations where ore is separated from other minerals, and then screened or classified into several basic particle sizes. Vermiculite is found in various parts of the world. Locations of the predominant commercial mines are in Australia, Brazil, China, Kenya, South Africa, USA and Zimbabwe.

When subjected to heat, vermiculite has the unusual property of exfoliating or expanding into worm-like pieces (the name vermiculite is derived from the Latin 'vermiculare' - to breed worms). This characteristic of exfoliation, the basis for commercial use of the mineral, is the result of the mechanical separation of the layers by the rapid conversion of contained water to steam. The increase in bulk volume of commercial grades is 8 to 12 times, but individual flakes may exfoliate as many as 30 times. There is a color change during expansion that is dependent upon the composition of the vermiculite and furnace temperature.

How Is Vermiculite Used?
Vermiculite has been used in various industries for over 80 years. It is used in the construction, agricultural, horticultural and industrial markets.

Generic Applications -

  • Loose Fill
  • Lightweight Aggregates
  • Asbestos Substitutions
  • Absorbents
  • Industrial Heat Insulation
  • Carriers
  • Soil Conditioners
  • Density Modifiers
  • Fire Protection

Specific Applications -

CONSTRUCTION

  • Acoustic Finishes
  • Air Setting Binder Board
  • Fire Protection (internal/external)
  • Floor and Roof Screed (lightweight insulating concrete)
  • Gypsum Plaster
  • Loft Insulation
  • Sound Deadening Compounds

AGRICULTURAL

  • Animal Feed
  • Anti-caking
  • Material Bulking Agent
  • Fertilizer
  • Pesticides
  • Seed Encapsulant
  • Soil Conditioner

HORTICULTURAL

  • Blocking Mixes
  • Hydroponics
  • Micro-propagation
  • Potting Mixes
  • Root Cuttings
  • Seed Germination
  • Seedling Wedge Mix
  • Sowing Composts
  • Twin Scaling Bulbs

INDUSTRIAL

  • Absorbent Packing
  • Brake Pads and Brake Shoes
  • Castables
  • Dispersions
  • Drilling Muds
  • Filtration
  • Fireproof Safes
  • Fixation of Hazardous Materials
  • Furnaces
  • Insulation Blocks and Shapes
  • Insulation - High and Low Temperature
  • Molten Metal Insulation
  • Molded Products
  • Nuclear Waste Disposal
  • Paints
  • Perfume Absorbent
  • Sealants
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