By nature of its mineral DNA and light, frothy nature, expanded perlite is widely useful as a component in many industrial and consumer products. Even pre-expansion, as crude ore—crushed to spec—perlite has application in industry. Below is a list of various uses and applications for expanded perlite linked to detailed information pages for each application.
As a Lightweight Aggregate
Perlite is used as an extremely lightweight aggregate for insulating concrete in roof decking, floors, decorative stone products, bricks and tiles, tilt-up panels, pottery, cast sculpture, and more. By following specific procedures, typical ready-mix batching equipment and trucks can be used for perlite concrete.
As an Insulator
As a lightweight insulator, perlite is incredibly versatile, meeting a variety of insulating needs—from the super-cooling demands of cryogenics to ambient and low temperature applications up through intense high temperature demands such as foundry cores, molds and even as a crucible topping. Perlite is non-combustible, with fusion point of 1260 degrees C (2300F) and is an ideal loose-fill or spray-on fire-proof insulation for safes, safe rooms, doors, pizza ovens, and chimney linings.
In Horticultural Applications
Perlite is widely used in horticultural applications because of its lightweight water-holding capacity, neutral pH, and pathogen-free nature. Perlite is found in the engineered lightweight soils of roof gardens and planters as well as commercial and bagged potting soils. Perlite is used a soilless grow media for hydroponics, seed starting and plant rooting. Perlite also makes an excellent conditioner for native garden, turf, and landscape soils, enhancing both the water-holding capacity and anti-compaction properties.
For Plasters and Textured Coatings
Perlite’s acoustical, fire-proofing, and insulative properties as well as its lightweight form factor make it an ideal sand-replacing aggregate for interior and exterior plasters and stuccos. Perlite also works to bulk and pattern textured coatings and finishes.
For Waste and Spill Management
Perlite is used in environmental applications to absorb oil and to soak up and stabilize chemical spills and other liquid pollutants. Perlite is also blended with soil to filter stormwater runoff from paved surfaces, mitigate rainwater surge and erosion, and solidify liquid waste and industrial sludge for legal transport.
As a Filtration Media
Beer, wine, juices, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oils, acids, sugars, bio-diesels, and water (potable, swimming pool, and storm runoff) are all filtered with perlite that has been expanded and crushed to form a complex maze of microscopic pathways that makes a highly-effective filter cake.
As a Lightweight Filler
Perlite serves as a lightweight filler for caulking compounds, paints, plastics, and explosives. When added to soaps, cleansers, polishes, dental compounds and stone wash wheels, perlite adds gentle yet effective abrasive properties to the product. Perlite is also added to plasters, ceiling tiles and walls to enhance sound absorption in these materials.
For Sandblasting and as a Slag Coagulant
In its crude ore state, perlite has industrial uses—chiefly in the foundry industry and as a sandblasting media.