The Many Uses for Diatomaceous Earth

Celebrating National Diatomaceous Earth Day


the many uses of diatomaceous earth

August 31st is National Diatomaceous Earth Day. This day recognizes the diatom and the remarkable mineral it creates. It’s a particularly exciting celebration for Dicalite Management Group, as DE has been a major part of our business for nearly a century. Today, we’re going to take a look at the many uses of diatomaceous earth and our DE offerings.

What is Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth, also known as diatomite and DE, is the naturally occurring fossilized remains of diatoms—single-celled aquatic algae. Diatomite itself is made up of microscopic fossil plant’s skeletons. The diatoms are single-celled organisms with particle sizes ranging – depending on grade – from <10 to 100+ microns in size.

Diatomaceous Earth consists of billions of minute silica frameworks. The frustules are strong and support intricate internal frameworks with maximum void space. Despite the complex framework, each species of diatom offers a unique pore structure that provides diatomaceous earth with excellent particulate holding and removal properties for filtration. In addition, it has an extremely high surface area per unit of volume and typically absorbs twice its own weight. Other features of diatomaceous earth include:

  • Low density
  • High porosity
  • High surface area
  • Abrasiveness
  • Insulating properties
  • Chemically inert
  • Absorptive capacity
  • High brightness
  • Natural silica content

The Many Uses of Diatomaceous Earth

There are many uses of diatomaceous earth that cover many industries and needs. It is so widely used, many consumers are only a few feet away from products created with diatomaceous earth, whether or not they know it!

Biopesticide

Diatomaceous earth is an effective natural insecticide. Its abrasive qualities cut pests and insects’ exoskeletons, causing them to die of dehydration. It can be used in the home, garden, and around animals. It is one of the few EPA-registered biopesticides.

Around the Farm

Add it to chickens’ dust bath mixture helps prevent problems with lice. And use it to help control fleas on dogs and reduce parasites in horses, pigs, and other farm animals.

Dicalite D4AFA (Animal Feed Additive) and SA-3 meet the USDA requirements for diatomaceous earth when applied according to regulations for this application.

Horticulture

Diatomaceous earth can be used as a prophylaxis to mitigate silicon soil deficiencies. It also reduces populations of fungus gnat larvae when growing cannabis seedlings.

When used as a high-performance seed coating, natural diatomaceous earth can be a key to a crop’s success by increasing seed size, protecting the seeds, and helping seeds retain applied moisture.

Personal Care Products

Diatomaceous earth is even used in personal care products. Because of its abrasive properties, it is sometimes used in toothpaste and as a gentle exfoliant for skin. It also acts as an absorbent in deodorant.

Restoration and Remediation

It can be used for moisture control and mold remediation. Diatomaceous earth can reduce moisture content in wood, exposed brick and concrete, floods, and burst pipes. This mineral can also absorb mold and dry it up. Diatomaceous earth, when applied with an electrostatic sprayer, is an effective means of mold and mildew prevention in basements.

Food and Beverage Filter Aids

These “filters” feature irregularly shaped particles that interlace in a fashion that leaves voids or open spaces for oil to fit through. With billions of microscopically fine interstices between particles, unwanted solids are strained from the liquid.

Swimming Pool Filtration

  • DE as a filter media: Diatomaceous earth has a very small particle size, a high porosity, and a crystalline structure, making it an excellent filtration medium for many applications, including pool filters.
  • How much it filters: Diatomaceous earth filters are the most efficient type of filtration compared to sand or cartridge. It traps particles down to an impressive three to five microns, so your pool will be crystal clear.
  • Maximum filtration: Your family is safe from dangerous contaminations and bacteria that you cannot see when you use diatomaceous earth filter media.

Paints and Coatings

Diatomaceous earth is used as a functional, inert filler in many paints and coatings. It’s added to paint as a flatting and matting agent, and anti-blocking agent to plastic films. It controls gloss and sheen, extends primary pigments, adds bulk and strength, and enhances coating adhesion.

Dicalite’s Diatomaceous Earth

Product Classifications

Flux-calcined Diatomaceous Earth

Flux-calcined diatomaceous earth is processed and purified in a rotary kiln in the same fashion as our calcined diatomaceous earth with the addition of a natural fluxing agent to further increase agglomeration. Because of its higher permeabilities, it can be used to remove impurities at very high filtration flow rates.

It can also be used as a filler in the same applications as our natural diatomaceous earth products where higher abrasion, a brighter color, and larger particle sizes are required by the application. The characteristic bright white color is produced by a reaction between the fluxing agent (a salt) and the natural minerals in diatomaceous earth.

Our flux-calcined diatomaceous earth is manufactured exclusively at our Burney, California location. In continuous operation since 1985, this location has one of the highest quality commercial diatomite sources in the world.

Calcined Diatomaceous Earth

Calcined diatomaceous earth has been treated at a temperature above 1500F to agglomerate the exoskeletons of the diatoms in order to create a range of permeabilities for better filtering agents. While it is used primarily as a fine filter aid, it has many other uses.

The characteristic color of calcined diatomaceous earth comes from the oxidation of iron during calcination; it is sometimes referred to as “Pinks” for this reason. Our natural grades are off-white.

We produce our calcined DE at two locations: Basalt, Nevada and Burney, California. We can ship to your worldwide location by utilizing our close US West Coast shipping ports.

Natural Diatomaceous Earth

For many uses, diatomaceous earth is processed to give it new, useful properties, but natural diatomaceous earth has its own benefits and uses, including:

  • Inert fillers
  • Seed coating
  • Fabrics
  • Oil drilling muds
  • Desiccant (absorbent)
  • Natural feed additive
  • Polishing compounds as a mild abrasive
  • Natural soil amendment

Our Mining Sites

Burney, California

Dicalite Minerals Corp. Burney, California facility produces Dicalite Calcined and Flux-Calcined DE products. This deposit is one of the premier commercial fresh-water diatomaceous earth deposits in the world. Dicalite Burney produces diatomaceous earth filter aids and fillers, including:

  • Filter Aids for food-grade filtration
  • Calcined Filter Aids for fine filtration applications
  • Flux-Calcined DE Filter Aids for fast filtration applications
  • Dicalite Industrial Fillers
  • Dicalite Flux-Calcined Fillers

Basalt, Nevada

In 1945 the Dicalite Company purchased the mining claims in Basalt, Nevada from the United States Diatom Company. Currently the Basalt, Nevada diatomite plant is owned and operated by Dicalite Management Group, and is the fourth oldest continually operating mine in the state of Nevada. At the Basalt mine, the three most prevalent varieties are; Melosira, Stephanodiscus, Eunotia. Most products at Basalt are manufactured to individual customer needs. Processing of the diatomite is done by one of two methods, depending upon the type of product to be produced. Two varieties of diatomaceous earth are made at Basalt – natural, calcined material.

Explore More Uses of Diatomaceous Earth

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