What is Vermiculite?
Vermiculite is a hydrated magnesium aluminum sheet silicate mineral closely related to mica, and has all of the thermal and chemical resistance mica is known for. When subjected to heat, vermiculite expands and forms particles that are revered for being:
- Highly absorbent, soaking up to three times its volume in water
- Highly effective in cation exchange capacity
Vermiculite is found all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, Uganda, USA and Zimbabwe. Speciality Vermiculite mines and processes vermiculite concentrate in facilities located in Enoree, South Carolina. Vermiculite is mined using open cast mining techniques where the ore is separated from other minerals and then screened or classified into several basic particle sizes.
How is Vermiculite Used?
Vermiculite’s water-wicking, lightweight, and thermal-resistant properties make it ideal for many applications and products, including:
Vermiculite acts as a magnet for nutrients like potassium, calcium, and magnesium, making it a valuable and time-saving addition to passive hydroponics systems. Vermiculite will slowly re-release valuable nutrients back into the soil, adding to the growing cycle.
Exfoliated vermiculite is easily poured around irregularly shaped objects and provides a cushion against shock during handling and transportation, often in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
Vermiculite is lightweight, making it ideal for bulking products without adding a significant amount of weight.
Vermiculite’s high cation exchange capacity enables it to hold onto added nutrients to feed plants, cuttings, and seeds, allowing for faster and more successful growth. It can also enhance animals’ food to create the most nutrient-dense product.
Vermiculite is thermal-resistant, slowing down the burning process for materials enhanced with it, like ceiling tiles and drywall.
Lightweight, fire-resistant, and insulating construction materials are produced when Vermiculite is used as an aggregate.
Finer grades of exfoliated Vermiculite are used in friction linings for automobiles because of its thermal resistance, shape, and surface characteristics.
Vermiculite is used to create a lightweight cement for a softer, more resilient pool floor for vinyl-lined pools
MicroLite’s easy application and proprietary binders allow for direct application on fabrics and other industrial materials to provide a fire-rated material. Coatings of Microlite on fiberglass textiles have been shown to increase the service temperatures up to 1100°F. You’ll notice in the video that despite temperatures immediately increasing above 1100°F, the flame did not break through the Microlite coated fiberglass mat. The protection of the Microlite coating is clear as the back thermocouple stays well below 1100°F after 90 seconds of continuous burning. Have you seen clothes and other thermal textiles, like blankets, marketed as fire-resistant? They may be coated with Microlite.
Vermiculite’s water-wicking, lightweight, and thermal-resistant properties make it ideal for a variety of applications and products across a wide array of industries.
Vermiculite dispersions are fire-resistant, flexible, dyeable, and more, offering numerous benefits when used as films, fillers, coatings, and binders.
At Specialty Produced Vermiculite Corp., we promise our customers consistency and quality and produce a variety of vermiculite products to meet a range of needs.