ORIGIN AND CHARACTERISTICS
Vermiculite is the geological name given to a group of hydrated laminar minerals which are aluminium and iron-magnesium silicates.
Vermiculite is extracted from open-pit mines. The rock and other impurities are removed from the ore which is then crushed and sorted by size.
When heated, vermiculite expands (exfoliates) to up to 12 times its original volume. The exfoliation process converts the dense flakes of ore into lightweight porous granules containing innumerable air layers.
The exfoliated vermiculite is light and clean, has a high thermal and acoustic insulation value, is incombustible and insoluble in water and has the ability to absorb liquids.
- Mortars and refractory elements: vermiculite is used as an ingredient in low to medium temperature refractory elements (up to 1200°C) and is used to build and/or coat ovens and as mortar for joining refractory pieces.
- Isolation: passive fire protection. Manufacture of mortars. Ceramic furnaces.
- Iron and steel industry: vermiculite concentrates are used as padding for liquid metal. Due to the heat released by these metals, vermiculite expands and acts as an insulating layer thus preventing heat loss.
- Seedbeds: vermiculite works excellently as a cover for seedling trays to maintain the humidity and temperature of the seed. It also helps to maintain the soil moisture and increase its retention capacity.
- Substrate: vermiculite can be mixed with all kinds of organic substrates, providing them with a distinct capacity to be well aerated. The structure of vermiculite remains unchanged over time, allowing it to maintain a high aeration rate in the substrate. It also helps to regulate water consumption by acting as a reservoir.
- Animal nutrition: vermiculite acts as a binding, anti-caking and coagulant agent. Due to its high adsorption capacity, vermiculite is used to support and carry a wide variety of nutrients, fatty acids, vitamins and antibiotics used in the preparation of additives for animal feeds.
- Gypsum: vermiculite is a basic ingredient in the development of new lightweight projected gypsum mortars.
- Vermiculite plates: vermiculite boards or plates provide fire resistance, thermal insulation and stability. They are ideal for wood burning stoves and all types of doors and partitions.