What is Vermiculite?
Vermiculite is a hydrated magnesium aluminum sheet silicate mineral closely related to mica, and has all of the thermal and chemical resistance mica is known for. When subjected to heat, vermiculite expands and forms particles that are revered for being:
- Highly absorbent, soaking up to three times its volume in water
- Highly effective in cation exchange capacity
Vermiculite is found all over the world, including Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, Uganda, USA and Zimbabwe. Specialty Vermiculite mines and processes vermiculite concentrate in facilities located in Encore, South Carolina. Vermiculite is mined using open cast mining techniques where the ore is separated from other minerals and then screened or classified into several basic particle sizes.
The exfoliated vermiculite is also used in the construction industries today and has wide applications, one of them being used as an additive to fireproof wallboard. It is a lightweight aggregate for plaster, fire stop mortar and cementations spray fireproofing, proprietary concrete compounds, . It is also used as a component of the interior fill for fire stop pillows, along with graphite. It is a light – weight isolative concrete and can also be used in ground swimming pools to provide a smooth pool base.