The Use of Vermiculite: Is Vermiculite Dangerous?

March 23, 2017 >> by asbestos watch

Vermiculite is a type of silicate mineral that commonly used for its nature that would expand up to 80 times its normal size when in a high level of heat.  Vermiculite melting point is 1350 Celsius, which is why vermiculite is used as an insulating material and in fireproof products.

However, the use of vermiculite had been put into disagreement for the commercial use since it contains asbestos.

Nevertheless, there is a type of vermiculite called Exfoliated Vermiculite – Safe And Abundant Mineral For the Commercial combination of minerals that resembles mica in form.

When it is combined with organic elements like peat, coco peat, compost, and so on then it induces the growth of the plant comprehensively. Hydrated Vermiculite is used as an anti-caking material, animal feed, bulking agent, fertilizer, pesticide and soil conditioner. It serves as an extensive scope of practical applications for example plasters, friction liners, pool liners, packing material and so on.

The small proportion of vermiculite material is added to potting soil assist in retaining the moisture of the plants, that is especially intended for enhancing the growth of indoor gardens. It’s fireproof, absorbent and odorless that makes excellent for insulating attics.

vermiculite and asbestos

Depending on the chemicals and also the furnace temperature, it expands and undergoes alter in color. The insulation of this mineral predominantly has numerous advantages when in comparison to structural grade concrete.

The manufacturing process of this mineral is mining – concentrating – grading – exfoliating – classifying. It has numerous kinds of usage in which the manufacturing procedure differs according to its.

One among that process is mining and concentrating which give upturn to vermiculite flakes and another procedure is exfoliating and classifying operations, it produces a range of expanded vermiculite particles. The constructing procedure gets varied from mine to mine, plant-to-plant or location-to-location.

The use of Vermiculite in Australia

The insulation material can also be solicited to a range of foundations, whereas it permits the architects and engineers with a lot of versatile design options.  This kind of insulation is used in the manufacturing of many goods such as garden goods, fireproofing materials, and cement goods.

It has applications in insulation, sound-deadening materials, fire protection, paints, potting mixes, pesticides, sealants, and automotive brake pads.

When considering concerning the mining procedure, it was crushed to remove the asbestos.  It serves as one of the best thermal insulators that are utilized as a perfect substitute for weathering course material.

They are harmless with shiny flakes, which are mainly found between the joists in attic floors and inside exterior walls.

Vermiculite has some of the major uses within the industrial field like:

  • absorbent packing,
  • brake pads,
  • brake footwear,
  • drilling mud,
  • insulation blocks,
  • molted metal insulations,
  • paints,
  • sealants,
  • perfume absorbents and so on.

Vermiculite concrete has superior high quality of insulating properties and also this could be used for insulating about back boilers and as a fire back support substance.

It has low density and thermal conductivity, which makes it seductive for use as a soil amendment, lightweight building aggregate, and thermal insulation filler.

Vermiculite applied for horticulture and agriculture is really a well-known technique, whereas it can also be utilized as a transporter and extender for fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. It has extracted nicely from ground sources compared to numerous other oriented products.

It aids to improve the energy efficiency to ensure that it can achieve nicely in your house or work location and give a lot needed protection that you had been looking for.

In regards to plasters, this material enhances the spell resistance of it due to the capability of vermiculite particles to accommodate dimensional change.

asbestos roofs

Numerous Typical Applications For Utilizing Vermiculite

  • Lightweight Concretes and Screeds: Vermiculite concretes are light in weight, have good isolating properties, and are basically fire resistant. Vermiculite concretes are used in-situ roof and floor screeds and in the fabrication of precast products. Vermiculite concrete may also be utilized for insulating about back boilers and as a fire back assistance substance. Roof screeds that are light, as a drain slope, not just shed water but can decrease the steel structure style while providing an even insulating roof substrate for the roof membrane.
  • Vermiculite Plasters: Vermiculite plasters can be made with gypsum or Portland cement and have high coverage, good workability, excellent fire resistance and very good adhesion to low suction backgrounds. Vermiculite plasters offer many benefits more than conventional plasters.
  • Loose Fill Insulation: Loose fill vermiculite can be used between joists in lofts for insulation in a house. The exfoliated vermiculite free flowing properties make installation very easy. The insulating properties of vermiculite considerably reduce the loss of heat in cold weather and keep the interior cool in hot weather.  Additionally, it utilized as a sound absorbent material.
  • Fire Protection: Vermiculite is familiar as a product, particularly suited for protection against fire. Vermiculite-based goods range from factory produced boards and panels to premixed coatings suitable for application by mechanical spray or by hand plastering methods on a variety of structures. These coatings are extensively utilized within the petrochemical industry and within the tunnel lining.
  • Horticulture: Vermiculite is well established as an expanding medium and Vermiculite for horticulture and agriculture is very well-known. It is used to produce a range of growing media mixed with peat or other growing substrates to suit each application. The presence of vermiculite increases aeration and retention of the moisture, and through its high cation exchange capacity (CEC) it minimizes fertilizer leaching. Vermiculite can also be utilized as a transporter and extender for fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. It is also utilized inside a ground type for encapsulating seeds.
  • High Temperature & Refractory Insulation: Vermiculite for refractory and higher temperature insulation is usually linked with alumina cement, fire clays, and silicates to produce a wide range of vermiculite goods which, depending on the kind and application can endure hot face temperatures of up to 1,100ºC.
  • Friction Linings: Vermiculite is now used extensively in the friction lining industry (e.g. brake and clutch linings) as a safe alternative to asbestos, and plays a vital role in this field.
  • Swimming Pool Liners: Swimming pools are lined with numerous mixes of exfoliated vermiculite, Portland cement, and special additives. Vermiculite for pools tends to make a firm, resilient base for vinyl liners and protect a pool bottom from cold ground temperatures. If changes in water table levels occur the porous base avoids problems. For above ground pools, exfoliated vermiculite can create a soft, resilient pad for the liner.
  • Packing Material: Exfoliated vermiculite is simply poured about irregularly shaped objects and provides a cushion against shock during handling and transportation. Being highly absorbent, exfoliated vermiculite is really a perfect material within the event of a leak with liquids.
  • Animal Feed: A refined form of vermiculite is utilized in animal feedstuffs. It is used as assistance and carrying medium for a wide range of nutrients, fat concentrates vitamins and molasses.

However, there is no easy way to find out whether the vermiculite materials around us contain asbestos. Even though the use of asbestos in vermiculite has been banned in the late 1970s, it is still possible that we are living with asbestos containing materials. Therefore, if you have vermiculite in your building, and you feel unsure with the asbestos exposure within the vermiculite, you can take some of the samples and send it to the lab for a test.

Vermiculite is dangerous, so carefully when you facing this mineral.

External resources:

  1. www.todayshomeowner.com/dangers-of-asbestos-contaminated-vermiculite-insulation-in-your-home/
  2. www.mesothelioma.com/asbestos-exposure/products/vermiculite/

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