Derived from the remains of microscopic fossilized sea or freshwater algaes, diatomite is a naturally occurring, versatile mineral used in an array of applications from cosmetics to filtration.
Mineral silica with a unique structure
Diatomite is a sedimentary rock composed of the fossilized skeletal remains of single-cell aquatic algaes known as ‘diatoms’. This unique form of silica has an elaborate honeycomb structure, peppered with thousands of tiny holes ranging from a few microns to submicron diameters. No other silica source, be it mined or artificially produced, presents such a structure. Some diatomite deposits are saltwater but most are from freshwater sources.
When ground, this profusion of shapes results in an extremely low-density powder known as ‘diatomaceous earth’ (DE) which has excellent absorption properties that are highly prized for filtration, agriculture, paints, plastics, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals applications—to name a few.
- Unique 3D morphology
- Micro porosity
- High absorption power
- High surface area
- Low density
- Chemically inert
- Relative hardness (6 on the Mohs scale)
Imerys operates diatomite deposits and processing algae in the US, Mexico, Chile, Peru, France, Spain and China, including one of the planet’s largest worked diatomite mines, and only marine deposits, in Lompoc, California.
Imerys is the world leader in diatomite production. We carefully engineer our products to provide sustainable diatomite-based solutions that meet the specific needs of a wide range of industries and applications.
Natural solutions fostering greener, healthier societies
In the food & beverage industry, Imerys diatomaceous earth (DE) grades are natural, ecofriendly filter aids and process enablers for the production of beer, fruit juices, sweeteners, and edible oils.
Imerys DE adsorbents are invaluable, cost-effective refining and purification aids in sustainable biodiesel fuels, derived from waste oils.
Imerys DE is being used in the production of a low-cost, high-performance gravity water filtration device that provides populations in developing countries with access to potable water and reduces the spread of disease, particularly during disaster relief campaigns.
Imerys natural DE-based, non-chemical, mechanical insecticides can play an important role in combating malaria in tropical zones. They are excellent substitutes for chemical insecticides and present no risk of insect resistance.
In agriculture, Imerys DE grades are effective anti-caking agents in fertilizers and excellent inert carriers for animal feed and pesticides.
In cosmetics, ultra-absorbent diatomite-based powders are ideal 100% natural ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirants. Used in face masks, diatomite significantly reduces the drying time of the clay.
In paints and coatings, diatomaceous earth is an excellent matting agent, providing burnish and scrub resistance, breathability, and anti-cracking performance.
In plastic films, Imerys DE grades are effective anti-blocking additives that prevent films from sticking together during production, converting, and end-use.
Imerys also harnesses the specific properties of diatomite to serve construction, pharmaceutical, plastics, rubber, polish, and oil spill applications.
At Imerys we will pursue our efforts to find diatomite-based innovations that contribute to tackling key issues facing modern society such as disease prevention, blood filtration, sustainable energy, and natural ingredients for life science markets and agriculture.
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