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Applications and Uses of Perlite – Insulation World Kenya Limited

Applications and Uses of Perlite

Perlite is best known for being lightweight, non-organic, insulating, fireproof, and pest-proof. Its uses extend over many industries, including construction, horticulture, industrial, and more.

  1. Applications and Uses of Perlite in Cannabis Growing

Perlite is a volcanic mineral that looks like styrofoam when expanded and allows for increased drainage. Cannabis plants, in particular, thrive with it because the glass-like bubbles in the perlite encourage drainage and ensure oxygen is provided right to the plant roots.

Cannabis plants show tremendous growth with horticultural perlite because when it is mixed with soil, it creates a very oxygenated environment allowing for faster draining so you can feed your plant more fresh, essential nutrients.

To use, simply mix two parts soil to one part perlite for increased drainage and oxygen at the root zone.

The Goldilocks Perlite Size for Cannabis Growing

When it comes to cannabis growing, perlite size and quality does matter. It’s ideal to have the least amount of fines as possible, as fines don’t hold water or aerate the soil nearly as efficiently as bigger kernels.

While it may be tempting to go with the largest kernel on the market, you could actually be causing more problems if you do; larger grades are softer and tend to break down into fines during transport, which negates your decision to go big.

our perlite ore produces a medium grade expanded product that is harder and more consistent, so when you open your bag, you can expect kernels—not dust. You’ll find this durable horticulture perlite is “just right” for your cannabis growing needs.

2.  Applications and Uses of Perlite in Lightweight Formed Products

Ceiling Tiles, Pipe Insulation, Roofing Board, & Fire-rated Door Cores

Expanded perlite makes a lightweight concrete for roof decks and an insulative base for in-ground vinyl pools Perlite is used as an extremely lightweight aggregate for insulating concrete in roof decking, floors, decorative stone products, bricks and tiles, tilt-up panels, pottery, cast sculpture, and more. By following specific procedures, typical ready-mix batching equipment and trucks can be used for perlite concrete.

The largest use of perlite ore in North America is its expansion and use in ceiling tile manufacturing.

Benefits of Expanded Perlite for Ceiling Tiles

Some Ceiling Tiles Contain up to 70% by Weight of Expanded Perlite because of its Numerous Benefits

  • Lightweight
  • Fire resistant
  • Improved acoustical properties
  • Reduced water absorption
  • Energy savings

Wet-Felted Acoustical Ceiling Tile and Panels

Expanded perlite (40-50%) is also present in a unique wet-felted acoustical tile and ceiling panel composition. It has been presented that expanded perlite is favorable in the production of ceiling tiles and panels to reduce the tendency to retain water in a composition containing expanded perlite, mineral wool, and a secondary binder such as starch or clay. It has been found that an acoustical tile composition containing wet-felted, mineral fiber and lightweight expanded perlite help to promote an efficient installation, anti-sag performance and prevent mold and mildew.

  1. Applications and Uses of Perlite as a Construction Filler

Expanded perlite’s high insulating qualities, light weight, and versatility make it an essential part of the construction industry for loose fill insulation and lightweight insulating concrete. It is the ideal construction aggregate filler for masonry fill insulation, roof decks, floor systems and other significant areas that need insulation.

Construction Aggregates

Perlite and Gypsum Products

Perlite plaster aggregate mixed with gypsum provides an ideal base coat for plaster for interior walls, membrane fireproofing to the underside of the floor and roof assemblies, and for structural steel members.

Perlite and Joint Compounds

Joint compounds produced with perlite are lightweight and easy to work with. Perlite also improves the bonding properties and provides greater uniformity.

Cavity and Block-fill Perlite

There are countless reasons why nearly 50% of manufactured expanded perlite is used as a construction filler. Some of the reasons include high insulating qualities, light weight and its adaptability. But what it really comes down to is economics and the monetary savings of using perlite. The return on investment when using expanded perlite for loose-fill cavity and construction block-fill can be reached rather quickly as reductions in energy consumption are quickly achieved. In addition, businesses are saving money every day because expanded perlite is light weight, pours easily and efficiently into place without a general investment in equipment and experience. Expanded perlite for loose-fill cavity and construction block-fill insulation can be poured straight into the cavity walls or a self-dumping hopper. This allows for easy guidance and smooth operation along the wall to direct the moving perlite into the cores of the cavity, mitigating any voids and air pockets.

Advantages of perlite masonry fill are as shown below:

  • Energy Saving Insulation
  • Fills All Voids and Cavities
  • Noncombustible
  • Inorganic
  • Easy installation
  • Economical

Perlite Uses and Applications as a Construction Filler

Nearly 50% of expanded perlite worldwide is used by the construction industry, largely in part because of its versatility. Some construction applications include:

  • Aggregate in lightweight insulating concrete
  • Insulating and lightweight plaster
  • Loose fill insulation material for concrete masonry blocks, cavity walls, in residential homes
  • Fireproofing sprays
  • Chimney fills
  • Interstitial floors
  • Acoustical sprays
  • Green roof soils
  • Fireproof insulating door cores
  • Plaster Aggregate
  • Textured paint
  • Decorative stone
  • Tape joint compound
  • Cultured marble
  • Ceiling tiles
  • Underslab insulation
  • Cement stucco
  • And more
  1. Applications and Uses of Perlite in Cryogenic Insulation Services

Super-cold cryogenic fluids, such as hydrogen and helium, are typically stored in double-walled vessels with perlite-filled annular spaces. Cryogenic perlite is a finer grade of perlite with consistencies similar sand. We provide cryogenic insulation services and produce an extremely lightweight expanded perlite suitable for use in industrial storage vessels.

Cryogenic Perlite Advantages

  • Very low thermal conductivity: λs = 0.034 – 0.042 W/(m.K)
  • Very low moisture content
  • Free from organic materials
  • Safe for human health
  • Excellent thermal properties
  • Low cost
  • Easy to install
  • Noncombustible
  • Meets fire regulations
  • Doesn’t shrink, swell, warp or slump
  • Pest Proof

Cryogenic Insulation Services

  • Low-temperature storage tanks
  • Cold boxes
  • Test Chambers
  • Food Processing
  • Double-walled vessels and pipes
  1. Applications and uses of Perlite in Fillers: Plastics & Films

With a range of particle sizes and grades, ultrafine perlite microspheres offer advantages as a filler for plastics and films, including:

  • Weight reduction
  • Shrink and/or crack resistance
  • Low volume-based cost compared to binders and some other fillers
  • Whiteness
  • Impact resistance
  • Machinability and ease of sanding
  • Nail and screw holding ability
  • Flexural strength modification
  • Gloss and sheen control
  • Pigment extension
  • Inertness and non-toxicity
  • Water and/or air permeability
  • Fire resistance
  • Insulation
  • Modification of acoustic properties

Perlite ultrafine fillers have been used in a number applications for many years, including:

  • Silicone rubber
  • Synthetic rubbers
  • Natural rubbers
  • Thermoplastic resins
  • Decorative home and garden fixtures
  • Thermosetting resins
  • Paint
  • Coatings
  • Polishes
  • Cleansers

6.   Applications and Uses of Perlite in Filter Aids

Perlite’s low density, availability, performance, cost, and environmental footprint make it an essential filtration aid in many industries.

Benefits of Perlite Filter Aids

Ease of Application

Experience in a variety of applications has shown users can easily switch their current filtration media to a perlite filter aid economically and without sacrificing performance.

Inert State

Perlite is naturally inert, so no tastes, colors, or odors are transferred to the filtered product.


Perlite filters are virtually insoluble in mineral and organic acids at all temperatures. Solubility in strong alkaline solutions varies, depending on temperature and contact time.

Usable with Standard Equipment

It can be used with either pressure or vacuum filtration equipment.

Less Weight, Same Volume

Perlite filter aids can weigh as much as 50% less than the other types of filter media, allowing for the same volume of filter cake with much less weight.


Use perlite on a one-to-one volume basis to replace another filter aid.


Perlite filter aids are also revered for the end of the filtration process; the filter cakes remain porous and do not compact.

Applications of Perlite Filter Aids

Food and Beverage

  • Juices
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Sweeteners
  • Vegetable oils
  • Wastewater treatment


  • Enzymes
  • Antibiotics
  • Epsom Salt


  • Water treatment
  • Sizings
  • Oil and solvent recovery
  • Greases


  • Inorganic & organic chemicals
  • Resins
  • Polymers
  • Brine
  • Adhesives
  • Fertilizers
  • Waste disposal

Paint and Coatings

  • Waxes
  • Oils
  • Varnish
  • Gyms
  • Shellac
  • Wastewater treatment


  • Stormwater filtration
  • Ecology embankments
  • Media filter drains
  • Wastewater treatment

7.     Applications and Uses of Perlite in Horticulture

For Commercial Growers, Landscapers, and Home Gardeners

Expanded perlite is widely used for horticultural and agricultural endeavors Perlite is widely used in horticultural applications because of its lightweight water~holding capacity, neutral pH, and pathogen-free nature. Perlite is found in the engineered lightweight soils of roof gardens and planters as well as commercial and bagged potting soils. Perlite is used a soilless grow media forhydroponics, seed starting and plant rooting. Perlite also makes an excellent conditioner for native garden, turf, and landscape soils, enhancing both the water-holding capacity and anti-compaction properties

Horticultural perlite is a lightweight, non-organic, soil substrate that provides a number of important benefits to commercial growers, landscapers, and home gardeners.

Perlite’s Horticultural Benefits

Some of the benefits of perlite use in horticulture are:

Breaks up Compacted Soil

Perlite can be used to break up compacted soil for better water drainage.

Aerates Soil

The high displacement and lightweight volume capacity of expanded perlite provide room for air and water, preventing over-watering and allowing proper drainage.


Because it is inorganic, perlite is stable and doesn’t decompose or break down.

Neutral pH

Perlite’s pH range is 6.5 to 7.5—the ideal zone for most plants to absorb nutrients.

Light Weight

Perlite is lighter than grit or sharp sand, pumice, or other aggregates—which can also be used to improve drainage in a garden bed. Adding Perlite to your growing media makes for lighter, easier to handle products for manufacturers, and makes it easier for home gardeners to work with.


Perlite is one of nature’s most versatile and efficient minerals. It is formed by molten (magmatic) rock, also known as volcanic glass. It acts as a lightweight, non-organic, soil conditioner for commercial growers, landscapers, and home gardeners alike, providing numerous benefits. See for yourself how perlite is one of the most sustainable soil substrates on the commercial market.

Common Horticultural Perlite Uses

There are a variety of applications, including:

  • Propagating
  • Potting Soils
  • Stadium turf
  • Golf course turf
  • Lawns
  • Hydroponic crops (tomatoes, bell peppers, chillies, and more)
  • Trees and shrubs
  • Bulb and tuber storage
  • Garden beds

Perlite and Hydroponic Gardens

According to research, growing plants hydroponically with perlite produces a heavier crop for the space used and a better quality product. Tomatoes, for instance, are less prone to splitting when grown hydroponically than if they are grown in soil.

In hydroponic systems, roots are grown in troughs of perlite which are supplied with a fertilizer/nutrient solution. This allows the right amount of water and oxygen to get to the roots.

And unlike soil, this growing medium does not attract pests or diseases, and it can easily be replaced.

  1. Industrial Uses and Applications of Perlite

Ladel Topping Applications

In ladle topping applications, expanded or unexpanded granular ore forms of perlite are added to molten metal pouring ladles. Most often the ore form is used which reacts with slag in the ladle to allow easy removal of the slag layer. In cases where it is desirable to maintain a metal temperature in a ladle, the expanded perlite layer forms an efficient insulating blanket.

Slag coagulant material is manually added to the surface of molten metal after it is poured into a ladle. Slag that is present on the molten metal adheres to the perlite and floats for removal. With the removal of the combined perlite and slag, the metal is clean and ready for casting.

Enhanced by Perlite

Perlite industrial uses are so vast, many consumers are only a few feet away from something enhanced by the mineral—whether or not they know it!

  • Ceiling tiles
  • Pipe insulation
  • Roofing board
  • Fire-rated door cores
  • High-temperature insulation
  • Molten metal topping
  • Joint compound, spackling
  • Cryogenic insulation
  • Filtration
  • Lightweight fillers
  • Decorative stone
  • Fireplace chimneys
  • Specialty stoves
  • Wood fired bread and pizza ovens

Perlite Filler Size and Shape

Industrial perlite ore grades are milled accordingly to fit your industrial requirements. Perlite microspheres, one form of expanding perlite, form from a unique milling process consisting of broken, expanded perlite particles that form flake-like, flat particles with an interlocking, three-dimensional structure. This structure helps reduce shrinkage upon drying or curing, maintaining the physical dimensions of the host material. Typical uses for perlite glass flake fillers are:

  • Water-based construction compounds
  • Paints
  • Asphalt
  • Concrete
  • Plaster
  • Resin-based castings

9.     Applications and Uses of Perlite in Insulation

With its Light Weight and Naturally Heat-resistant Composition, Perlite is Valued as a Superior Insulator

Expanded perlite is used a loose fill insulator in double-walled storage tanks and block walls. As a lightweight insulator, perlite is incredibly versatile, meeting a variety of insulating needs—from the super-cooling demands of cryogenics to ambient and low temperature applications up through intense high temperature demands such as foundry cores, molds and even as a crucible topping. Perlite is non—combustible, with fusion point of 1260 degrees C (2300F) and is an ideal loose-fill or spray-on fire-proof insulation for safes, safe rooms, doors, pizza ovens, and chimney linings

There are numerous benefits of using perlite for insulation, including:

Building and Masonry Fill

Energy Savings

Because of its unique closed cell structure, masonry fill insulation can drastically reduce heat transmission through masonry walls. The efficiency of perlite loose fill insulation has led to its almost exclusive use in insulation tanks containing liquified gassed where temperatures of -320°F and below must be maintained. Thermal performance tests show significant energy savings when perlite is used to fill cavities in concrete masonry structures. These tests have determined that perlite masonry fill insulation can be more effective than polystyrene beads, polyurethane foam, polystyrene inserts, vermiculite core fill insulation, and foamed-in-place insulation.

Fills All Voids and Cavities

In addition to its closed cell structure, a key to perlite’s performance is its ability to seek out and completely fill all crevices, voids, and mortar areas in a masonry wall without bridging. This flowability characteristic of perlite masonry insulation assures a completely and efficiently insulated wall. In addition, this flowability feature enables the masonry contractor to install several courses of block before pouring insulation into cavities and/or core holes. Because perlite masonry fill insulation is non-settling and will not compact under its own weight, it is a permanent insulation that will last the life of the structure.

Easy Installation

As perlite masonry fill insulation is field installed following the layering of several courses of block, it does not interfere with masonry contractor nor is it subject to damage in handling. Free-flowing perlite masonry fill insulation is merely poured into cores, ear holes or cavities by means of a simple hopper. No special equipment or skills are required to properly insulate a masonry wall with masonry fill perlite insulation.

Non-Combustible and Fire Ratings

Perlite is a Class A, Class 1 building material with a temperature range for fusion of 2,300 to 2,450 degrees Fahrenheit.  Underwriters Laboratories show that a fire rating of a 2-hour rated 8, 10, or 12-inch concrete block wall is improved to 4-hours when cores are filled with masonry fill Tests show that a two-hour rated 8”, 10”, or 12” concrete block wall is improved to four hours when cores are filled with perlite masonry fill insulation. In addition, perlite insulation does not generate fumes when heated. These features of masonry fill insulation make the product particularly suitable for insulating stairwells and elevator shafts.


Perlite masonry fill insulation is permanent and will not rot or otherwise decompose. In addition, it is termite, rodent, and vermin resistant and will not support fungus growth.


Because perlite masonry fill insulation is a permanent and efficient insulation, it will provide energy saving dividends year-after-year for the life of the structure. Energy savings alone will quickly pay back the cost of the insulation and will decrease building heating and cooling costs for years to come. In addition to being lower-cost than other fillers, perlite is lightweight and pours easily without the need for special equipment or training.

Perlite Insulating Concrete Pool Base for in-ground vinyl pools

Refurbishing an in-ground pool with a new, insulating, perlite-concrete pool bottom.

A perlite insulating concrete pool base can substantially reduce heat loss to the ground

Perlite insulating concrete pool base can substantially reduce heat loss to the ground thus keeping pool water warmer for a longer swimming season.
This will reduce energy costs when pool water is heated. In addition, perlite pool base provides a firm, smooth, foundation that prolongs the life of vinyl liners.

Common Uses for Perlite as an Insulator

  • Masonry stones
  • Chimney lining
  • Underground pipe and ducting concrete
  • Concrete pool base for in-ground vinyl pools
  • Cryogenic service
  • Floor systems
  • Roofing
  • Metal Decks

10. Applications and Uses of Perlite as Pet Litter

Perlite: The “Pur-fect” Solution to the Pet Litter Problem

Pet litter manufacturers were met with a problem: a survey of customers revealed a common frustration was that kitty litter weighed too much, and it was difficult to purchase, use, and replace.

Perlite was the perfect solution to this heavy problem because it keeps the mass of the product without extra weight. Now, lightweight cat litter made with perlite can weigh 50% less than standard.

Expanded perlite is extremely absorbent and provides the ideal complement to other ingredients in pet litter—such as clays, and odor control elements—without interfering with the effectiveness of either. It can also be sized to fit the application, which is critical for cat litter and other applications where particle size distributions affect the finished product specifications.

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