Vermiculite is used for products that require high heat isolation as the material is recognized to be the most appropriate for fire protection. Vermiculite - based products range from factory made boards and panels to premixed coatings suitable for application by mechanical spray or by hand plastering techniques.
Vermiculite plasters can be made with inorganic compounds like gypsum or cement. The advantage which vermiculite based plasters have over conventional types of plasters are: improved coverage, lighter weight, improved workability, excellent fire resistance, reduced thermal conductivity, improved adhesion to a wide range of backgrounds, increased resistance to cracking and shrinkage.
Vermiculite particles have the ability to accommodate dimensional changes, which improves the resistance to damage.
There are two methods to apply vermiculite plasters, no matter if gypsum or cement based, and they are by hand or by spraying machine. Vermiculite is well suited to spray application, as they are non-abrasive aggregate, and the sprayed plasters can have an attractive decorative appearance.
Pores and cavities of masonry construction and hollow block work are filled with exfoliated vermiculite to enhance acoustic performance and acts as sound absorbent material.
Vermiculite is an ideal material for the reduction in airborne sound, due to its ultra-lightweight loose-pour aggregate. The traditional way to absorb the sound was by integrating heavy materials into a building. Nevertheless, in many cases this is not practical especially in existing buildings. For that reason vermiculate has become an ideal alternative acoustic dampling material, which meets with class “A”, when used at a minimum of 100mm depth.
Primarily in the automotive market and more specifically for brake linings finer grades of exfoliated vermiculite are being used. It is appropriate to use vermiculite as a friction material for the brake linings due to its properties and more specifically its thermal resistance, ease of addition to other raw materials achieve a homogenous mix and its shape and surface characteristics.
Vermiculite is a highly suitable material for use in steelworks and foundries, due to the fact that it is good thermal insulation, has low density and its natural refractory properties combine with ease of application. It is used for hot topping molten steel to reduce heat loss from ingots and ladles and generally as a loose-fill insulator.
For thermal insulation vermiculite can be mixed with other materials to obtain insulating panels. Also vermiculite can be placed to fill up construction cavities for home insulation. The insulating properties of exfoliated vermiculite significantly reduce the loss of heat in cold weather and keep the interior cool in hot weather.
Garden and Pet Needs
Vermiculite is used extensively as a growing medium. Most commonly it is used in compost formulations, usually in combination with peat. Ideal conditions for plant growth are provided by vermiculite / peat compost formulations. The presence of vermiculite particles in the compost aids aeration, improves moisture retention and promotes the steady release of added fertilizers while the vermiculite itself contributes potassium, magnesium and a number of minor elements.
The production of healthy young plants and the stimulation of root growth are done by the ideal combination of the air / water ratios for vermiculite / peat composts. The vermiculite is sterile when processed. It will need no further treatment before incorporation into composts if stored correctly. Vermiculite can also be used as a carrier and extender for fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides. A further use is in a ground form for encapsulating seeds.
Vermiculite is free flowing, soft, sterile and absorbent. This means it has found a role as a bearing and carrying medium for a range of nutrients such as fat concentrates, vitamin preparations and molasses. The use of vermiculite gives a greater volume yield and accommodates a high liquid uptake while retaining good handling characteristics.
Exfoliated vermiculite is a good way for packaging. Its benefits are not only that it is lightweight, clean and easily poured around irregular shaped objects, it also provides good protection against shocks caused by impact and improper handling.
Being highly absorbent, it safely retains leaks from packed materials such as hazardous chemicals. As it is inorganic, it does not present any potential fire hazards.
Exfoliated vermiculite can also be used as a packing material for storing fruit, bulbs and tubers. Being soft and non-abrasive, it has also been used effectively for insulation and cushioning the base of plastic-lined swimming pools.
Vermiculite’s cation exchange capacity (up to 80 - 100 me per 100g) allows it to be used in fluid purification processes for waste water treatment, chemical processing and the pollution control of air in the industry. In addition to its ion exchange properties exfoliated vermiculite will retain liquids within the inter-laminar voids of the individual particles as well as between the particles themselves.