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- Perlite is an amorphous
volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content, typically
formed by the hydration of obsidian.
- It occurs naturally and
has the unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently.
- Perlite is not a trade
name but a generic term for naturally occurring siliceous rock.
- This expansion is due to
the presence of two to six percent combined water in the crude perlite
- When quickly heated to
above 1600°F (871°C), the crude rock pops in a manner similar to popcorn
as the combined water vaporizes and creates countless tiny bubbles which
account for the amazing light weight.
- Annual world production
of unexpanded perlite has increased by some 20%.
Demand for perlite in horticulture continues to grow.
- Estimated world
production of around 3.1Mtpy is believed to represent just 60% of
installed production capacity.
- The decline in
construction activity in Western Europe is forecast to have bottomed out
and overall demand for perlite to 2010 will now increase at a rate of 2%
- This forecast growth in
Asia and Western Europe will be offset by a likely 0.5%pa decline in
demand in the Americas, which currently account for 35% of world total
- Perlite used In the
construction and manufacturing fields, it is used in lightweight
plasters and mortars, insulation, ceiling tiles and filter aids.
- It is used in
horticulture it makes composts more open to air, while still having good
- It makes a good medium
- Perlite is also
used in foundries, cryogenic insulations, as a lightweight aggregate in
mortar (firestop) and in ceramics as a clay additive.
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