What is Perlite?
Perlite is one of nature’s most versatile and efficient minerals. It is formed by molten (magmatic) rock, also known as volcanic glass. Over time, and during formation and cooling, water is absorbed into the raw perlite ore matrix, giving perlite its unique ability to expand when heated.
When perlite ore is heated rapidly in industrial furnaces, the volcanic glass softens, causing the entrapped water molecules to turn to steam and expand the perlite particles—much like popcorn. This can increase in volume up to 20 times its original size.
The expansion process renders the perlite partially transparent, and the resulting complex refraction changes the color from a light gray to bright white. These expanded perlite particles are lightweight and insulated glass bubbles that can hold water and air.
Characteristics of Perlite
- Free of organic contaminants
How is Perlite Used?
Perlite’s unique characteristics make it an excellent choice for diverse applications, including:
Perlite’s lightweight and fire-resistance structure make it the ideal product to ensure both construction safety and versatility, from sheetrock to ceiling tiles. It is commonly used as an aggregate in gypsum joint compound.
Perlite helps break up compacted soil, allowing for better water retention, making it useful for professional growers and hobbyists alike.
Cannabis plants, in particular, thrive with perlite because the glass-like bubbles in the heated perlite ensure oxygen is provided right to the plant roots.
The air pockets formed when perlite ore is heated and its loose-flowing nature enable it to be a low-density filler that can fit in odd-shaped spaces. Plus, it’s commonly used as cryogenic insulation for gasses.
Perlite is lightweight and can safely be used over a wide range of temperatures, making it useful for a variety of industrial applications, including high-temperature insulation, molten metal topping, lightweight fillers, and more.
Crushed expanded perlite particles present a maze of microscopic pathways that can be used for filtration and clarifying a wide array of liquids, beverages, and pharmaceutical products.
How is our Perlite Unique?
We own and operate the most extensive perlite mining operation in North America: the Socorro perlite deposit located in New Mexico. The Socorro deposit provides perlite ore for both our internal and external customers and is believed to be the deepest perlite deposit 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.
Perlite – Applications and Uses
Perlite is best known for being lightweight, non-organic, insulating, fireproof, and pest-proof. Its uses extend over many industries, including construction, horticulture, industrial, and more.
Perlite – Products
At Dicaperl, we promise our customers consistency and quality and produce a wide array of products to meet a variety of needs.