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I. What is Perlite


Perlite is not a trade name but a generic term for naturally occurring siliceous volcanic rock. The distinguishing feature which sets perlite apart from the other volcanic glasses is that when heated to a suitable point in its softening range, it expands from four to twenty times its original volume.


This expansion is due to the presence of two to six percent combined water in the crude perlite rock. When quickly heated to above 1600oF (870oC) the crude rock pops in a manner similar to popcorn as the combined water vaporizes and creates countless tiny bubbles in the heat softened glassy particles. It is these tiny glass-sealed bubbles which account for the excellent insulating properties and light weight of expanded perlite.


Expanded perlite can be manufactured to weight from 2 lb/ft3 (32 kg/m3) to 11 lb/ft3 (180 kg/m3) making it especially suitable for use in insulating applications. Perlite is used in the manufacture of high temperature and cryogenic insulation, lightweight perlite insulating concrete, insulating board, insulating plasters, masonry, wall insulation and as under floor insulation.


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