Perlite is an amorphous glass mineral of volcanic origin.
Typical analysis: 70-75% SiO2, 12-15% Al2O3, Na2O 3-4%, K2O 3-5%, Fe2O3 0,5-2%, MgO 0,2-0,7%, CaO 0,5-1,5% Loss On Ignition 3-5%
Properties: When it reaches temperatures of 850″“900 Â°C, perlite softens (since it is a glass) and water trapped in the structure escapes and this causes the expansion of the material to 7″“15 times its original volume. The expanded material is a brilliant white, due to the reflectivity of the trapped bubbles.
Unexpanded (“raw”) perlite bulk density: around 1100 kg/mÂ³ (1.1 g/cmÂ³).
Typical expanded perlite bulk density: 30″“150 kg/mÂ³
Due to the low density of expanded perlite it has many uses: Lightweight plasters and mortars, insulation, ceiling tiles and filter aids. In horticulture it makes composts more open to air, while still having good water-retention properties; it makes a good medium for hydroponics. Perlite is also used in foundries and cryogenic insulations.