Derived from volcanic rock, perlite is a natural, lightweight, inert and fireproof mineral making it a mineral of choice for a wide variety of end uses from cosmetics to construction.
Perlite is a naturally occurring siliceous rock formed when molten lava spews out of a volcano and cools rapidly. During cooling, water is trapped within the rock and the lava forms into a glass-like structure. When heated at temperatures from 750 to 1250°C, perlite expands from four to twenty times its original volume, popping just like popcorn to create countless tiny bubbles. The bubbles created during the heating process account for the amazing light weight of perlite and other exceptional physical properties such as low thermal conductivity.
These properties are sought after in many applications from filtration and cosmetics to construction and horticulture.
Our perlite quarry, in Milos (Greece).
Perlite’s typical composition includes 70-75% silicon dioxide, 12-15% aluminum oxide, 3-5% potassium oxide, 3-4% sodium oxide and traces of iron oxide, magnesium oxide and calcium oxide.
A closer look at expanded perlite after the heating process.
Imerys owns and operates perlite mines in Greece, Sardinia, Turkey, the USA (New Mexico, Arizona and Utah), Argentina, and Chile which feed our many perlite expansion facilities scattered across the globe. Imerys is one of the rare perlite producers able to control the quality chain from mine to finished product.
Imerys focuses its attention on providing innovative, sustainable solutions for the filtration, cosmetics, coatings and construction markets, as well as cost-effective grades for agriculture and industry in general. Imerys is the world’s leading supplier of engineered mineral products derived from expanded perlite.
As a filtration aid, natural, food-grade Imerys perlites are ideal for filtering wine and fruit juices. Our ImerVin® Efficace range of perlite filter aid is a cost-effective solution for the filtration of wine musts and lees, and is prized by producers of some of the planet’s finest wines.
Perlite is an ideal natural ingredient for cosmetics where gentle abrasion, high absorption and matting effect are desired. Used in body and face scrubs, perlite is an excellent, eco-friendly alternative to polymer-based microbeads.
Used in the construction industry, perlite is a good thermo-acoustic insulator for cavity walls and a valuable, low density fire retardant additive, ideal for meeting current trends towards lightweight building materials and concrete.
In dry mixes and ready-to-use plasters, perlite is an excellent additive for lightweighting. In paints, perlite is the most efficient matting agent; and in varnishes it provides matting and transparency.
In horticulture, raw perlite is an environment-friendly soil amendment in growing substrates, where it improves plant growth as well as resistance to insects, disease and environmental stress.
The global perlite market is predicted for high growth over the next few years, fuelled by demand for lightweight building materials, decontaminated filter aids and ecological soil amendment solutions. Imerys will continue to strive to find sustainable, innovative perlite solutions to meet growing world demand.
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