Perlite and Sustainability
Environmental, Economic, and Social Benefits
We often take the time to look at the ways perlite can be used. Besides its useful properties, there are many reasons it should be used. Today, we’re taking a look at perlite and sustainability and how it impacts the environment, economy, and society.
What Is Perlite?
Perlite is an amorphous mineral consisting of fused sodium potassium aluminum silicate. In its natural state, it’s a dense, glassy rock formed by volcanic rock. When crushed and organic acids at both low and high and treated under proper conditions, perlite pops like popcorn, expanding up to 20 times its original volume. It is revered for its light weight, insulative properties, water-retention value, and more. Perlite has a variety of uses across many industries including agricultural, industrial, construction, cryogenics, and even pet care.
Perlite and Sustainability
- Storm runoff filtration. Perlite acts as a natural filter to clean stormwater runoff, helping to prevent the contamination of waterways which could, in turn, hurt natural flora and fauna.
- Horticultural. Perlite helps preserve the world’s topsoil by acting as a substitute for native mineral soil.
- Mining has little impact. Only three square-miles of perlite are actively mined at any time, which is a small fraction of the available perlite in the world. It is standard for studies to be conducted before mining to ensure the minimization of disturbance to local biology.
- Decreases energy use. Because of its unique closed-cell structure, perlite can drastically reduce heat transmission through masonry walls. Thermal performance tests show significant energy savings when perlite is used to fill cavities in concrete masonry structures.
- No by-products during processing. All parts of mined perlite can be used, so none of it goes to waste.
- Cost-efficient to ship. Perlite is lightweight, making it more cost-efficient to ship than competitor products.
- Community development. Perlite mining and processing contribute to communities by providing stable employment and stimulating the economy. The known perlite reserves will remain available for multiple generations, as only 1% of the reserve base has been used.
- Building safety. Perlite is a Class A, Class 1 building material with a temperature range for fusion of 2,300 to 2,450 degrees Fahrenheit. Underwriters Laboratories show that a fire rating of a 2-hour rated 8, 10, or 12-inch concrete block wall is improved to 4-hours when cores are filled with masonry fill Tests show that a two-hour rated 8”, 10”, or 12” concrete block wall is improved to four hours when cores are filled with perlite masonry fill insulation.
- Personal safety. Because perlite is a lightweight product, it is easier and safer to carry than heavier counterparts, like when it is used in horticultural applications.
Visit the Perlite Institute, a worldwide association of perlite professionals, to learn even more about the benefits of perlite on the environment, economy, and community.
Dicalite Management Group’s Perlite Microspheres and Sustainability
Dicaperl’s industry-leading perlite microspheres are available in a range of densities, degrees of whiteness, and strengths to suit most formulating requirements. Densities range from 4 lbs. per cubic foot up to about 15 lbs. per cubic foot. Proprietary coating microspheres end in product codes 10, 15, and 20.
This special subset of perlite fillers requires advanced manufacturing and classification techniques to produce. Dicaperl is one of the only perlite manufacturers in North America producing perlite microspheres for a variety of industries and applications, from construction and building materials to specialty pharmaceutical and healthcare products.
Our Socorro, New Mexico mine is considered to be one of the largest perlite deposits in the world. We have rail access right at the mine to provide economical transportation to our customers. And unlike most perlite companies, we own and operate perlite ore mining operations and processing and expansion facilities. This allows us to maintain a much higher level of quality and consistency control and ensures volume and supply for our perlite ore and expanded perlite customers.
Our Commitment to Perlite and Sustainability
Emissions: To protect our air quality and atmosphere, the air emissions from the processes are closely monitored and regulated. Several gases and particulates are controlled to ensure compliance with operating permitted levels. A baghouse is used to collect dust from the process air before the clean air is released into the atmosphere.
Rainfall-Runoff: Expanded OreRainfall-runoff in the plant and quarries is controlled in many ways. Abandoned areas are revegetated to promote water retention. Where rain runoff occurs, slopes are engineered to reduce erosion. As a final check, all runoff is collected in siltation ponds to collect any debris or suspended material. Runoff may be used for dust control as described above. From these ponds, the runoff water is treated, settled again, and discharged to the local water sources in strict accordance Water Quality Permit standards.
Dust Control: Dust is controlled in the quarries by water trucks and water wagons on a scheduled and recorded basis. Reclaimed water from mine runoff and stormwater is used whenever possible to reduce valuable water resources. Permanent roads are treated to further reduce dust.
Learn more about our sustainability efforts across all mineral offerings.
Request Your Free Sample of Perlite
Our sales and technical services team work closely together to ensure you are getting the right product for your application. We know you’ll love the results of using perlite, so we’d like to send you a free sample. Call us today at 866-728-3303 to request your sample and learn about our other mineral offerings.
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Our blog offers insight and information about new and exciting uses for perlite, diatomaceous earth, and vermiculite deriving from years of research and application. From passive fire resistance to mineral depth filtration, by subscribing to our mailing list, you will receive the latest information surrounding the Dicalite, Dicaperl, and Specialty Vermiculite brands and products.