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Commercial Applications of Vermiculite

What is Vermiculite?

Commercial grade vermiculite
Commercial grades of vermiculite; fine, medium & large

Commercial applications of vermiculite include; used in commercial hand warmers, used in seed germination & used for Storing bulbs and root crops. Before expounding on more commercial applications of vermiculite, let’s first understand what vermiculite is.

Vermiculite is a hydrated magnesium aluminum silicate mineral which resembles mica in appearance. The mineral is formed by weathering or hydrothermal alteration of biotite or phlogopite. Moreover, vermiculite is mined using open cast mining techniques where the ore is screened. It is then classified into five different particle sizes namely: Large, Medium, Fine, Superfine and Micron. The mineral undergoes significant expansion when heated. The mineral is expanding into worm-like strands. When expanded it drastically increases its volume and absorption ability. It is a silica mineral and are used in agriculture, horticulture, construction and industrial sectors. Vermiculite is also an excellent material for fire-proofing and insulation. It is also used for insulation or as a moisture-retentive medium for growing plants

Dandy Solutions LTD is the leading wholesale supplier of vermiculite in Nairobi Kenya.

Call +254748246998 to place your order

Swift delivery within Kenya. Huge price (KES) discounts on large orders

What are the commercial applications of vermiculite in Kenya?

  1. Used in commercial hand warmers.
  2. Used in AGA cookers as insulation.
  3. Used in explosives storage as a blast mitigant.
  4. Used to absorb hazardous liquids for solid disposal.
  5. Used in gas fireplaces to simulate embers.
  6. Used as part of a substrate for cultivation of fungi.
  7. As an additive to fireproof wallboard.
  8. As a component of the interior fill for firestop pillows, along with graphite.
  9. As a carrier for dry handling and slow release of agricultural chemicals.
  10. Molded shapes: additional commercial applications of vermiculite include making molded shapes. This process involves mixing exfoliated vermiculite with inorganic bonding agents such as sodium silicate, cement (specific quantities), and other compounds, such as potassium ones, to produce an ‘earth damp’ mixture. This material is then hydraulically pressed into shape in a mold and then heat cured at temperatures up to 180 °C for up to 24 hours, depending upon the thickness of the moulded part. Such parts can withstand service temperatures of up to 1150 °C. The materials are oftenly used in the aluminium smelting industry as back-up insulation behind the carbon cathode in the potcells which contain the molten mixture of cryolite and alumina. The moulded shapes and boards are used in:
    • Open fireplaces
    • High-temperature or refractory insulation
    • Acoustic panels
    • Fireproofing of structural steel and pipes
  11. Calcium silicate boards: exfoliated vermiculite is added to a calcium silicate slurry. This is then dewatered by pressing or by using one of the Fourdriner/Magnani/Hatschek processes. A flat board is formed, which is then heat cured under pressure (10–15 bar) for up to 24 hours.
  12. Brake linings: finer grades of exfoliated vermiculite are being used in brake linings primarily for the automotive market. The properties of vermiculite that make it an appropriate choice for use in brake linings include its thermal resistance, ease of addition to other raw materials to achieve a homogeneous mix, and its shape and surface characteristics.
  13. Roof and floor screeds and insulating concretes: exfoliated vermiculite (typically the finer grades) can be added to Portland cement and other aggregates, rheological aids, and water to produce roof and floor concrete screeds. These are lightweight and insulating. In many cases, vermiculite-based roof screeds are used in conjunction with other insulation materials, such as polystyrene board, to form a total roofing system. A bituminous binder can also be used with exfoliated vermiculite to produce a dry, lightweight roof screed which has the advantages of low thermal conductivity, low moisture content, and ease of placement (by pouring from the bag and then tamping).
  14. Soilless growing medium: exfoliated vermiculite is combined with other materials such as peat or composted pine bark to produce soilless growing medium for the professional horticulturalist and for the home gardener. These mixes promote faster root growth and give quick anchorage to young roots. The mixture helps retain air, plant food, and moisture, releasing them as the plant requires them.These mixes were pioneered by Boodley and Sheldrake. Exfoliated vermiculite is also used as a growing medium for hydroponics.
  15. Seed germination: vermiculite, alone or mixed with soil or peat, is used to germinate seeds; very little watering is required. When vermiculite is used alone, seedlings should be fed with a weak fertilizer solution when the first true leaves appear. Start with one teaspoon of 5-10-5 soluble fertilizer per gallon of water, gradually increasing to one tablespoon (1:256 ratio) when transplanting.
  16. Storing bulbs and root crops: pour vermiculite around bulbs placed in container. If clumps are dug, allow to dry for a few hours in the sun and then place in cartons or bushel baskets and cover with vermiculite. The absorptive power of vermiculite acts as a regulator that prevents mildew and moisture fluctuation during the storage period. It will not absorb moisture from the inside of stored tubers, but it does take up free water from the outside, preventing storage rot.
  17. As a soil conditioner: Where the native soil is heavy or sticky, gentle mixing of vermiculite—up to one half the volume of the soil—is recommended. This creates air channels and allows the soil mix to breathe. Mixing vermiculite in flower and vegetable gardens or in potted plants will provide the necessary air to maintain vigorous plant growth. Where soils are sandy, mixing of vermiculite into the soil will allow the soil to hold the water and air needed for growth.
  18. As loose-fill insulation: Exfoliated vermiculite treated with a water repellent is used to fill the pores and cavities of masonry construction and hollow blockwork to enhance fire ratings. (For instance, Underwriters Laboratories Wall and Partition designs), thermal insulation, and acoustic performance. Expanded vermiculite has also been used as thermal insulation in the attics and walls of houses. Again, it is used in water heaters, fire safes, stoves, furnaces, and refrigerators.
  19. Refractory/Insulation gunning and castable mixes: exfoliated vermiculite can be combined with high alumina (also known as calcium aluminate) cements and other aggregates such as expanded shale, clay, and slate to produce refractory/insulation concretes and mortars. In the early days of their use, these products were batched at or very close to the place of installation. This continues to be the case in some limited circumstances. However, more and more use is being made of pre-batched, proprietary mixes. Mixes containing vermiculite are used in areas where strength and corrosion/abrasion resistance are of secondary importance. In this case, the most important factor is the insulation performance of the in-place refractory lining. These mixes are used in industries including iron/steel, cement, and hydrocarbon processing
  20. Cementitious fireproofing products: Exfoliated vermiculite is one the ingredients in the manufacture of cementitious and gypsum-based spray-grade fireproofing material. Generally used as Passive Fire Protection products on structural steel and concrete.
  21. As a constituent of a coating: vermiculite dispersions are typically either chemically or physically very finely delaminated vermiculite in a fluid medium. These dispersions can be used to make vermiculite ‘paper’ sheets by pouring them onto a piece of smooth, low surface-energy plastic, and allowing to dry. The resulting sheet can then be peeled off the plastic. Typical end-uses for vermiculite dispersions include inclusion in high temperature coatings or binders for construction materials, gaskets, specialty papers/textiles, oxidation-resistant coating on carbon based composites, and as barrier coatings for films.
  22. As a packing material, valued for its high absorbency.
  23. Waste treatment – the cation exchange capacity (up to 1,000 milliequivalents per kg) of vermiculite allows it to be used in fluid purification processes for waste water, chemical processing, and the pollution-control of air in mines and gases in industrial processes. In addition to its ion exchange properties, exfoliated vermiculite can retain liquids within the inter-laminar voids of the individual particles, as well as between the particles themselves.
  24. As a substrate for various animals and/or a medium for commercial incubation of eggs.
  25. As a lightweight aggregate for plaster, proprietary concrete compounds, firestop mortar, and cementitious spray fireproofing. Exfoliated vermiculite is used in both hand and spray-applied general building plasters to improve coverage & ease of handling. Equally important, it improves adhesion to a wide variety of substrates, fire resistance, and resistance to chipping/cracking/shrinkage.
  26. As a hot topping: both exfoliated and crude vermiculite have been used for hot topping in the steel industry. When poured onto molten metal, crude vermiculite exfoliates immediately and forms an insulating layer. This allows the material to be transported to the next production process without losing too much heat.
  27. Used to permit slow cooling of hot pieces in glassblowing, lampwork, steelwork, and glass beadmaking.
  28. Used in in-ground swimming pools to provide a smooth pool base: Finer grades of exfoliated vermiculite, plus Portland cement may be combined to provide a base for swimming pool vinyl liners. These mixes are pumped into place using a rotor stator pump, or hand poured.

Call +254748246998 to place your order for any of the above commercial applications of vermiculite.

Swift delivery within Kenya. Huge price (KES) discounts on large orders

Premium grade commercial vermiculite
Commercial applications of vermiculite in Kenya