Genesis in Fire
Rapidly heating perlite ore to temperatures of about 900°C (1,700°F) softens the volcanic glass causing entrapped water molecules in the rock to turn to steam and expand the particles like popcorn.
The expanded particles that result are actually clusters of minute, lightweight, insulating, glass bubbles. Broken bubbles and surface openings on the particles provide for water and air holding capacity-especially important in horticultural uses.
Crushed expanded perlite particles present a maze of microscopic pathways that can be used to filter and clean a wide array of liquids, beverages, and pharmaceutical products.
Sophisticated manufacturing techniques allow the expansion and collection of individual perlite bubbles, which are used as fillers or extenders for a wide variety of products.
*Photo: Santini & Associates; J. Barker, Bureau of Geology, NM Tech
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