Perlite ore differs from expanded perlite in that it has not been flash-heated and popped into a foamy little mineral sponge. Pre-expansion, crude perlite ore is dense and glassy, and, when crushed and graded, has valuable industrial uses.
Sandblasting is an extremely versatile solution used widely in industry for anything from cleaning to deburring to pre-coating surface prep to texturizing. Such versatility demands a useful selection of blasting media—organics, metals, minerals, even plastics—each bringing an particular abrasive profile that is some combination of shape, size, hardness and density.
Perlite ore brings an abrasive profile that is hard and dense, angular in shape, and available in grades ranging from coarse to extra fine. Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass (vitreous rock), so even crushed to a fine grade, it holds it sharp-edged character. It is typically used for finishing, cleaning and surface profile blast applications.
Crude perlite ore functions as a slag coagulant in induction furnaces, cupola furnaces, and pouring ladles. The unexpanded ore exfoliates (expands) at temperatures above 1400ºF (800C), forming a viscous, lightweight cellular floating mat that attracts and coagulates fluid slag particles into a more easily removable mass. The process also minimizes phosphorous and sulfur content in the melt. Other advantages include radiant heat loss reduction as well as reduction in toxic gases.
Hess Perlite supplies crude perlite ore grades by truck or rail to other commercial expanders and to industry and manufacturers with in-house expansion facilities.