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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

What is Perlite: Use, Made of, Properties & more

Perlite is a well known amorphous volcanic glass that has a relatively high water content, typically formed by the hydration of obsidian. Perlite is a non-renewable resource. The world reserves of perlite are estimated at 700 million tonnes. It occurs naturally and has the unusual property of greatly expanding when heated sufficiently. It is an industrial mineral, suitable “as ceramic flux to lower the sintering temperature”, and a commercial product useful for its low density after processing.

Uses of Perlite

  • Because of its low density and relatively low price, many commercial applications for perlite have developed.
  • Perlite is used in cosmetics as an absorbent and mechanical exfoliant.
  • In horticulture, perlite can be used as a soil amendment or alone as a medium for hydroponics or for starting cuttings.
  • When used as an amendment, it has high permeability and low water retention and helps prevent soil compaction.
  • Due to thermal and mechanical stability, non-toxicity, and high resistance against microbial attacks and organic solvents, perlite is widely used in biotechnological applications.
  • Perlite was found to be an excellent support for immobilization of biocatalysts such as enzymes for bioremediation and sensing applications.
  • Perlite is currently used in commercial pool filtration technology, as a replacement to diatomaceous earth filters.
  • Perlite is an excellent filtration aid and is used extensively as an alternative to diatomaceous earth.
  • Perlite can be safely disposed of through existing sewage systems, although some pool operators choose to separate the perlite using settling tanks or screening systems to be disposed of separately.

Perlite world production, led by China, Turkey, Greece, USA, Armenia and Hungary, summed up to 4.6 million tonnes in 2018.

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