Perlite is one of nature’s most versatile minerals. It’s formed by molten rock or magma flows, that cool into a substance also known as volcanic glass. 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, and the entrapped water molecules to turn to steam and expand the perlite particle, much like popcorn. This can increase in volume up to 20 times its original size.
The expansion process makes 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.
Benefits of Perlite
- Free of organic contaminants
Our perlite is domestically processed at more than ten of our expansion facilities across the U.S. and Canada.
How is Perlite Used?
Perlite is lightweight and can safely be used in a wide range of temperatures. The unique characteristics of Perlite make it an excellent choice for various markets and beneficial in a variety of industrial applications including:
- Construction – as an aggregate in gypsum joint compound
- Cryogenics – insulation for gasses
- Filtration – clarifies a wide array of liquids, beverages, and pharmaceutical products
- Fire resistance from sheetrock to ceiling tiles
- Horticulture – breaks up compacted soil allowing for better water retention
- Insulation – low density filler
- Lightweight filler
- Molten metal topping
How Our Perlite is Unique
We own and operate the most extensive perlite mining operation in North America. The majority of the perlite ore for our North American operations comes from our mine in Socorro, New Mexico. The Socorro perlite deposit located in New Mexico is located four miles southwest of the city of Socorro. This deposit was the first source of New Mexico perlite when it opened in 1949.
While all perlite ore mines have specific characteristics, Socorro is believed to be the deepest known commercial perlite ore deposit in the world. This characteristic, among others, makes the deposit consistent in quality throughout the mining area. Because Dicalite Management Group owns and operates our own perlite ore mine, we can guarantee supply and quality to all our ore expansion plants.