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.
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.
Types of perlite:
- Agriculture, horticulture
- Filter aid
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.