Page 1

A Quarterly Publication of the Perlite Institute


FALL 2013



The Perlite Institute’s Annual Meeting was held in Sydney, Australia, Sept. 29 through Oct. 2. See page 3 for a summary of the event.

2 ...... Board of Directors 2 ...... Message from the President 3 ...... Annual Meeting Wrap-up 4 ...... Message from the Executive Director 5 ...... Why Perlite Rocks 9 ...... The Perlite Papers 11 ...... Patents: Two Thumbs Up for Perlite 11 ...... Perlite Patents 12 ...... Technical Q&As

13 ...... Industry News 14 ...... News from the Perlite Institute – Dues Reminder – New Members – Articles for Newsletter Sought 15 ...... Revised Product Guide 16 ...... Selected Upcoming Trade Shows and Meetings

Perlite Today— FALL 2013



Message from the President by Linda Chirico

Annual Meeting in Australia a Success Greetings to all! What an outstanding Annual Meeting we had in beautiful Sydney, Australia! Our gracious hosts at Ausperl rolled out the red carpet for us as we toured their excellent facilities and enjoyed a midmorning snack of sausages, Aussie barbie-style. Our general sessions covered a wide range of topics, including aspects of the packaging, handling and production of perlite to applications of perlite in filtration, lightweight refractory products and high-tech greenhouse production. Without a doubt, our annual dinner was unforgettable as we enjoyed wine pairings selected for us and presented by Peter Lehmann Wine’s chief winemaker, Andrew Wigan. On behalf of the Perlite Institute, our thanks go to Matthew Malaghan and everyone at Australian Perlite for a memorable Annual Meeting. We have a busy year ahead of us as we continue with our efforts to increase membership in the

Perlite Institute, enhance our website, transform our literature for the 21st century and stay in front of market and industry issues. Thank you all for your participation in and support of the Perlite Institute.

During the Annual Meeting in Sydney, Perlite Institute members toured the facilities of Ausperl.

2013 Board of Directors for the Perlite Institute OFFICERS PRESIDENT Linda Chirico Carolina Perlite Company, Inc. Gold Hill, N.C. 704-279-2325

VICE PRESIDENT Matt Goecker EP Minerals LLC Reno, Nev. 775-824-7658

TREASURER Keith Hoople Midwest Perlite, Inc. Appleton, Wis. 920-731-2671

PAST PRESIDENT / ADVISOR Kathryn Louis Sun Gro Horticulture Canada, Ltd. Bellevue, Wash. 425-433-0170

DIRECTORS Sebastien Caspard Imerys Performance & Filtration Minerals Paris, France (33) 633 50 82 17

Mike Hess Idaho Minerals LLC Malad City, Idaho 208-766-4777 or 800-767- 4701

René van der Mark Pull Rhenen b.v. Rhenen, Netherlands (31) 318-471001

Matthew Malaghan Australian Perlite Pty Limited Sydney, Australia 61 2 9316 0054

Jerry Mishler Supreme Perlite Portland, Ore. 503-286-4333

Rick Willis Silbrico Corporation Hodgkins, Ill. 708-354-3350

Perlite Today— FALL 2013



The Institute’s Annual Meeting Declared A Success in the Land Down Under More than 60 attendees traveled to the land “down under” and enjoyed many opportunities for networking and socializing at this year’s Perlite Institute Annual Meeting in Sydney, Australia, Sept. 29 through Oct 2. Participants heard speakers present on such topics as the usage of perlite in vegetable development and flower production, the future trends for bulk sacks, the role of perlite in processing, and how perlite is used in the Australian and New Zealand regions. Attendees were even treated to wine that had perlite used in the wine-making process. Members and guests enjoyed various social activities while in Sydney as well. A four-hour cruise of Sydney harbor kicked off the meeting. On Monday, spouses and companions had the opportunity to tour the Museum of Sydney and Hyde Park Barracks. On Tuesday, the full group enjoyed a wonderful lunch at Doyle’s on the Beach and an afternoon bus tour of Sydney. Special thanks are extended to our hosts, Matthew Malaghan and Andrew Anderson from Ausperl

Snapshots from the Annual Meeting

Perlite Pty Ltd., and to Meetings and Membership Committee members Linda Chirico, Jeffrey Sheehy and Rick Willis for their hard work and dedication to the planning of the program, topics and speakers. The 2014 Annual Meeting dates and location will be announced soon. Please watch the Perlite Institute website for updates.

2013 Annual Meeting Materials Online One of Perlite Institute’s member benefits is the ability to learn about new developments in the industry. Whether or not you attended the Annual Meeting in Sydney, you may access electronic copies of the speakers’ presentations now available on the website, Other materials from the Annual Meeting have also been posted on the website, including the Annual Meeting minutes, photos and final attendee listing. Attendees enjoyed fellowship, networking, educational speakers and tours of Sydney during the Perlite Institute’s Annual Meeting in Australia.

Perlite Today— FALL 2013



Message from the Executive Director by Denise R. Calabrese

2014 Promises More Member Benefits Than Ever Surely, the 67 attendees will agree that this year’s Annual Meeting was one of the best. From the Annual Meeting survey, we learned that attendees enjoyed the tour of Ausperl Perlite, the Sydney Harbor dinner cruise and the networking opportunities. Thanks The Board of Directors again to Matthew is always thinking Malaghan and everyone about how to make from Ausperl Perlite for your membership in making the Annual the association even Meeting in Sydney so more valuable. successful! The Perlite Institute’s Board of Directors is always thinking about how to make your membership in the association even more valuable. During the Annual Meeting in Sydney, the Board of Directors approved the 2014 budget, which includes money for new member benefits. In 2014, members will have the chance to participate in two educational webinars: one in the spring and one in the fall. The Perlite Institute is offering online educational opportunities so all members can take advantage of amazing educational opportunities from the comfort of their own home or office. Look for e-blasts with more information about the webinars in early 2014. Another new member benefit that will be offered in 2014 is a member spotlight for each issue of Perlite Today. Information that is used in the publication can also be posted on your member

company page on the Perlite Institute website if you wish, so this is a great opportunity to highlight your company using multiple avenues. If you can’t wait for our newsletter editor to feature your company for the member spotlight, feel free to email Amy at While the Annual Meeting is not a new member benefit, the 2014 Annual Meeting location will be new. We are planning to hold the 2014 Annual Meeting in either Salt Lake City, Utah, or Orlando, Fla. The Meetings and Membership Committee will be making the decision in the near future, and you will receive a save-the-date e-blast when that happens so you can mark your calendar. Take full advantage of the member benefits that the Perlite Institute offers you; the more you use the benefits that you’re offered, the more you will prosper.

is a quarterly publication of the

Perlite Institute, Inc. Winter issue is distributed in January Spring issue is distributed in April Summer issue is distributed in July Fall issue is distributed in October

4305 N. 6th St., Suite A Harrisburg, PA 17110 USA

Phone: 717.238.9723 Fax: 717.238.9985

More Snapshots from the Annual Meeting

Perlite Today— FALL 2013

Why Perlite Rocks



A look at news around the globe affecting Perlite manufacturers by Kenneth Wiener

Proposed Silica Exposure Rules Finally Released for Comment CRYSTALLINE SILICA and DUST Finally, after two and a half years, the U.S. government has released new proposed silica exposure rules for comment. OSHA is charged with the responsibility of distributing the proposed regulations, receiving and responding to comments and eventually releasing and enforcing the final limits. Mine Safety and Health Administration rules will follow. In the meantime, the proposed standard would eliminate the calculation that determines the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for an eight-hour shift exposed to respirable crystalline silica. In place of the formula Will these rules present (which works out to 100 opportunities to perliters micrograms per cubic to replace other products? meter of air when dealing Perhaps. with 100 percent quartz), a hard number of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air is proposed as the PEL. Additionally, an action level of 25 micrograms per cubic meter of air is to be implemented. That action level requires respiratory protection for workers and suggests limiting worker access to areas where they could be exposed to levels above the PEL. Dust controls must be used to protect workers from exposure above the PEL, and respiratory protection must be provided when dust controls are not sufficient. Training on ways for workers to limit exposure, medical exams for workers exposed above the PEL for 30 or more days per year and record keeping on exposures and medical histories of workers will be mandated. Further information is available at The government estimates the implementation cost for companies with fewer than 20 employees to be an average of $550 per year. Testing is expected to be conducted two to four times per year, depending on actual exposure levels. Will these rules present opportunities to perliters to replace other products? Perhaps. Will they spur

research by manufacturers of other products to minimize potentials for dust? Almost certainly. Could that research involve the use of perlite to help solid tablets, briquettes or other formed shapes to disintegrate into liquids where and when necessary? Quite likely. Changes to California’s Proposition 65 continue to be debated. In addition, parts of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) are being reviewed to determine whether they could be made more employer-friendly without affecting emissions and exposures. CEQA was signed into law in 1970 by then California Gov. Ronald Reagan. On the other side of the Atlantic, lawsuits filed in London regarding crystalline silica exposure by South African miners working for Anglo-American Gold were thrown out. Lawyers plan to refile the lawsuits in South Africa. GLOBAL WARMING and POLITICS While debates about policies, taxes and a lot of other stuff rage, at least in the United States, it’s nice to read about a new technology being commercialized in New It is likely that perlite Jersey that can somewhat would be an acceptable, put off the doomsday lightweight, lowerpredictions. The main strength aggregate in the advantage of this new scope of this technology. technology is that the process creates less carbon dioxide than the current technology, and it provides a way to sequester even more carbon dioxide. Even though the net result creates carbon dioxide, the new technology significantly reduces the amount created per unit volume. So, what is this technology all about? Ordinary Portland cement and the concrete made with it. Solidia Technologies is marketing a new way to create clinker, at a similar cost to regular cement clinker, and then cure the concrete in the presence of carbon dioxide to lock the gas into the cementitious structure. It is likely that perlite Continued on page 6

Perlite Today— FALL 2013

Why Perlite Rocks


continued from page 5

would be an acceptable, lightweight, lower-strength aggregate in the scope of this technology. Another item making the news is a study linking dung beetles, cow patties and methane production. According to the study, anaerobically produced methane from manure is significantly reduced (up to 80 percent) via the tunneling actions/aeration of dung beetles. Of course, there’s a doomsday message in this study as well since the dung beetle species is experiencing die-off. EU LAWS: REACh, CLP The EU had funded (five million euros out of an eight million euro budget) a four-year study on advancing perlite technology, and that research period recently ended. The final report may have been issued, because I have seen an interesting abstract. If anyone has access to the full report, it could be interesting to a great many members of the Perlite Institute. MINE SAFETY Fracking and earthquakes. Related or not? As geologists study the issue further, the answer is changing from “definitely not” to pointing fingers at some cases where there may have been a relationship. What remains as a definite yes, however, is the relationship between fracking fluid disposal wells and earthquakes. Why can’t fracking fluids be filtered, sent over some membrane to remove chemicals and then sent to wastewater treatment facilities? If some cleaned water could be used as an irrigation source, pressure on underground aquifers as a resource could be relieved. With regards to coal mines, West Virginia legislation to reduce the equipment shutdown trigger concentration of underground methane Why can’t fracking fluids from the federally be filtered, sent over mandated 2 percent to some membrane to 1.25 percent failed after remove chemicals and clear, acceptable language could not be agreed upon. then sent to wastewater treatment facilities? The explosive range in air for methane is between 5 and 15 percent, so this legislation could have improved the safety margin. Labor, coal companies and government officials wanted this change, and they will have to try again in 2015.


I’m not sure how it was measured, but South Africa claims to have improved mine safety by 66 percent over the past decade, beating the 47 percent improvement in the United States and the 25 percent improvement in Canada. On the other hand, black lung disease among coal miners in Appalachia is rising, even among younger miners. Factors to blame include 12-hour shifts using acceptable dust levels for eight-hour shifts, misuse of respiratory protection, thinner coal seams and inadequate ventilation. COMPETITION A professor at Michigan Technological University has created a wholly new way to kill unwanted bacteria. He succeeded in attaching nanoparticles of copper to commercially available vermiculite and intends to incorporate the modified vermiculite into cardboard, plastic and other products used to package food. The modified vermiculite killed 100 percent of E. coli in a lake water sample, as well as staphlylococcus aureus, Listeria, Salmonella and even antibiotic-resistant MRSA. Viruses and fungi can also be victims of this new material. Copper nanoparticles were deposited in two ways on two different grades of vermiculite. One involved chemically Construction companies reducing copper ions in a that have considered concentrated solution of perlite in the past but copper sulfate with rejected it due to the hydrogen in the presence higher crush strength of of vermiculite. The other the cenospheres might be process involved copper considered potential ions and heat (400 to 600 customers once again. degrees C), wherein copper atoms replaced magnesium atoms in the vermiculite structure. If vermiculite, why not perlite? In fact, my experience with vermiculite is that even moderate loading levels change the color of everything. Perlite, in small enough amounts, helps to maintain colors. Another material that sort of competes with perlite is cenospheres. These floaters from coal combustion/fly ash used to cost about the same as perlite per unit weight, but with an effective specific gravity of about 0.75. Not too long ago, the specific gravity of many of those grades was about 0.8 or 0.85. Now, with various market forces in play Continued on page 7

Perlite Today— FALL 2013

Why Perlite Rocks


continued from page 6

around the world, the specific gravity of most grades is 1 or even above. Availability has been reduced, and prices per ton have roughly tripled over the past 10 years or so. Construction companies that have considered perlite in the past but rejected it due to the higher crush strength of the cenospheres might be considered potential customers once again. THE ECONOMY Another doomsday prediction involves the Ogallala aquifer in the middle of the United States. We’ve known about the depletion of the groundwater there for some time, but another study has been released Perhaps our smaller size forecasting the available horticultural perlite can water over time at various benefit farmers and projected rates. In light of reduce the need for this study, I know that I frequent irrigation. would like to see some more research on how our smaller size horticultural perlite can benefit farmers and reduce the need for frequent irrigation. On another note, natural gas prices remain low as supplies are above average in the United States. This is good for perliters, as energy remains a significant portion of costs. The fracking boom also creates opportunities, as I mention from time to time. In other news, a return in activity in the construction market is dependent on banks and their real estate interest A return in activity in the rates. Ramping up those construction market is rates too much could dependent on banks quench the comeback, and their real estate while keeping rates low interest rates. leaves money on the table for the banks. GREEN BUILDINGS LEED v4 is expected to be released in November at the Greenbuild Expo in Philadelphia. New features will allow certain points for projects avoiding specific chemicals. LEED v4 has generated controversy over the listing of at least some of these chemicals. For example, plastics such as PVC fared poorly during the development of the new LEED standards. As a result, member groups such as the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc.,


and the American Chemistry Council are unhappy. If points are awarded to projects that use no PVC or fluorocarbons, as originally drafted, the U.S. Green Building Council will have not listened to the science behind the use of these materials. They will essentially be punishing the use of those polymers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has come out against the new LEED standards, and that too has proven controversial. A large Swedish-based construction firm, Skanska, USA, is no longer a member of the Chamber of Commerce because of this anti-LEED stance. To compete with LEED, several dissenting associations formed the American High-Performance Building Coalition, whose name for its website ( is indicative of the group’s philosophy. Another controversy is the ambivalent attitude of the U.S. federal government toward LEED. The government wants the benefits but does not want to pay for them. This is as much the result of politics as the question of whether or not LEED standards are voluntary and based on consensus. Overall, in 2013, local building codes have been updated as municipalities have adopted new sections pertaining to green buildings. Green In 2013, local building building automation has codes have been become available, updated as municipalities allowing management in have adopted new the Cloud. Increased use sections pertaining to of online technology is green buildings. expected due to the large amount of new software and hardware targeting building automation and facility management. Additionally, because of the carbon emission reduction requirements in California (AB 32) and in the city of Seattle, commercial building owners are now obligated to disclose the actual green building performance to all new tenants and buyers and, in some instances, to the public. BIOFUELS & OTHER SUSTAINABILITY ISSUES If anyone remembers the plant “jatropha,” you may remember that biofuels made from the fruit and seeds were considered “cutting edge” about seven years ago. Little has been heard about jatropha since, in part because plantings on about Continued on page 8

Perlite Today— FALL 2013

Why Perlite Rocks



continued from page 7

200,000 hectares (about 770 square miles!) of otherwise nonarable land failed to produce the projected crop. The plants did grow, but the poor oil quality/yield of the seeds failed to make the plantings a viable source of biofuel. To achieve the potential for oil, the plants had to be grown on land competing with food crops and watered properly. Investors, including big companies such as BP PLC and small farmers around the world, had to take a loss on their efforts. BP spent $160 million on the project in 2007 and abandoned it two years later. Now, it has been discovered that jatropha plantings, properly watered but again grown on nonarable land, can change an environment in a good way and serve as an economically competitive method of Jatropha plantings can capturing carbon from the serve as an economically atmosphere. The plants in competitive method of the current study were capturing carbon from planted in coastal areas of the atmosphere. Egypt and Israel and watered with desalinized seawater. A more modest 10,000-hectare (less than 40-square-mile) test site may be planted in the future. In other biofuel news, my state, California, may once again see itself at odds with the federal government on how to do things. California law mandates goals, not the path. On the other hand, renewable resource-based fuel is also mandated by federal laws and regulations but in more specific terms. To get things done, the federal standards listened to the ethanol lobby and advanced biofuel investors in addition to the usual suspects of environmental groups and oil companies. Specific numbers were set on how many millions of gallons of different types of renewable fuels should be blended into gasoline for what year. Projections of availability of advanced technologybased biofuels were wrong. Sugar cane ethanol from Brazil and food grain-based ethanol from crops such as corn and soybean are easy sources, but at serious expense to the environment, quality of life and food chains. The corn lobby and lobbyists from other industries are working to maintain the current requirements. In another sustainability issue, I knew that brewing beer is an activity that takes a lot of water, but

exactly how much is amazing. In 2008, MillerCoors set a company-wide sustainability goal of reducing the amount of water it uses in the brewing process by just 15 percent. In 2008, the ratio was 4.1 volumes of water to 1 volume of beer. By 2012, the company had reduced that number by about 7 percent, and so far in 2013, its eight U.S. breweries are only using 3.51 volumes of water per volume of beer. MillerCoors’ use of water is estimated to be below industry average (between 5 and 7:1), and that’s not counting the other 90 percent of water used for beer—irrigation water used to grow the grains. OTHER REGULATORY ISSUES Although strictly speaking this is an environmental issue, the topic of mercury content in coal intended for burning in power-generating facilities is regulated in countries such as the United States. Removal of mercury from coal has not been required in Asian countries, and if it continues that way, more Pacific fish of more species will have higher mercury content in their flesh. Flue gas desulfurization systems designed for sulfur recovery can easily be adapted for capturing mercury as well. The 1970s-era Toxic Substances Control Act is up for revamping, and the U.S. Congress will be debating the Lautenberg-Vitter bipartisan bill. Initial outcries from California are being addressed, and I will follow the progress of the proposed law. Until next time, happy expanding! Contact me at if you have any questions.

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Perlite Today— FALL 2013


The Perlite Papers


Innovative Uses of Perlite Explored by Kenneth Wiener

Perlite Uses in Furnace Efficiency, Solar Cells and Biofiltration efficient operation of the furnace. The payback Furnace Energy Efficiency 1 period for all these changes was calculated to be 11 I continue to find it amazing how little I was taught months. in school and college. In thermodynamics, I remember dealing with energy, enthalpy and Solar Cells 2 entropy, but not emergy or exergy, much less In other energy-related news, researchers from anergy. No, I did not make those words up. They Armenia and Belarus report that for the first time, are real. thin-film solar cells with a This design of solar cells Wikipedia has both simple copper-indium-galliumPerlite expansion is all had about 10 percent and extensive selenium (CIGS) absorber about the use of energy efficiency and suggests explanations of those layer were formed on a to pop the particles. that efficiencies higher terms. So, I looked for a specially designed than 10 percent may modern textbook on nonconductive ceramic be designed. thermodynamics. Howard DeVoe’s 533-page substrate based on perlite textbook, Thermodynamics and Chemistry, Second to produce photovoltaic Edition (2012), does not mention emergy and has devices fully integrated into building constructions. only a footnote mentioning that processes This glass ceramic satisfies the physical demands involving changes in G (Gibbs free energy – related of the substrate material as well as the to enthalpy) are requirements of cost sometimes called reduction of solar cells “exergonic.” production. This paper presents So what does this have to preliminary results do with perlite? Perlite which show that expansion is all about the this design of solar use of energy to pop the by Jacqueline Suskin cells had about 10 particles. A recent study percent efficiency and examined energy Honorable substance, suggests that efficiencies at a relatively efficiencies higher than 10 small expansion facility (7 Brought forth from earth for earth, percent may be designed. tonnes per day) in I have not seen the paper Might we do our best to celebrate Turkey. The authors to determine exactly what found the furnace energy your worth. form of perlite was used efficiency to be 66 Keeping our soil airy, as a substrate, but I percent and the exergy suspect it was not loose. efficiency to be about 26 Our ground made better, percent. Both these Biofiltration 3 And the quality of dirt that much values are significantly Sticking with the energy below average furnace more fantastic, theme, researchers in efficiencies. They suggest Spain worked on This is the link to the depths come using waste heat to improving biofilters for back around to make improvements. preheat the air and the use in removing volatile ore, improving insulation air contaminants such as This poem was commissioned by Ken Wiener. around piping and having Permission is granted for any member to use it. toluene. They compared the furnace manufacturer provide better training on Continued on page 10


Perlite Today— FALL 2013



The Perlite Papers continued from page <None>

two designs: a standard filter with one inlet and one exit and a step filter with multiple (three) inlet feeds and one eventual outlet. The systems looked like the diagram at right. The standard filter (A) clogged relatively quickly and required high energy levels to push more air through. Configuration B resulted in much lower pressures for much longer periods of time and saved a lot of energy. Conversion efficiencies of gaseous contaminants via compost-filled biofilters were significantly better than via perlite-filled biofilters, but that could be expected based on the ability of compost to support the necessary bacteria for contaminant Perhaps a mix of perlite removal. Perhaps a mix of and compost could perlite and compost could result in the best of result in the best of both both worlds. worlds. I continue to look forward to reading about and reporting on innovative thinking out there in both the literature and the real world. References: 1 M. Gürtürk, H.F. Oztop, A. Hepbaslı, “Energy and exergy assessments of a perlite expansion furnace in a plaster plant,” Energy Conversion and Management, Volume 75, November 2013, pages 488–497. 2 V.B. Zalesski, V.M. Kravchenko, T.R. Leonova, А.М. Polikanin, E.P. Zaretskaya, S.G. Petrosyan, A.M.Kechiantz, “Thin-film solar cells on perlite glass-ceramic substrates,” The European Physical Journal Applied Physics, Volume 62(3), June 2013, 30103. 3 J.M. Estrada, G. Quijano, R. Lebrero, R. Muñoz, “Step-feed biofiltration: A low-cost alternative configuration for off-gas treatment,” Water Research, Volume 47(13), September 2013, pages 4312–4321.

During the month of September, the Perlite Institute website had 2,263 visits and 5,135 page views. Of the visits, nearly 72 percent were new.

Contact the Editor Do you have information to share with the members of the Perlite Institute? Do you want to write an article for the newsletter?

Submissions should be sent to the editor at




























Clodic, et al.

Balmelli, et al.

Roddy, et al.

Di Loreto

Imerys Filtration

Yoshino Gypsum

Air Liquide

KerrHawe SA

Halliburton Energy Systems, Inc.

Fib-Services, Luxembourg

US Gypsum

Phillips 66

Staker & Parson

Specialty Concrete Design, Inc.


Halliburton Energy Systems, Inc.

Unifrax I

University of Illinois

Joint compound

Cryogenic insulation


Weighting agent

Dry mix for refractory surfaces

Acoustical gypsum tile

Contaminant removal from air streams

Particle size reduction via heating & fracturing at 375F

Heat-resistant silica cement

Explosive-resistant receptacle

Settable compositions with unexpanded perlite

Ultra low-weight insulation

Vacuum insulation panel

High-strength foam glass


Lightweight filler



Adding some weight to an elastomer surface

Segregation stabilizer

Lightweight ingredient

Porosity enhancer

Raw pozzolanic material

Lightweight insulator

Force absorber



Insulative support

Raw material


Integral part of invention

Main insulation

Invention makes perlite toothpaste tubes squeezable

Perlite & pumicite preferred

Perlite preferred at 5 – 10% by weight

Perlite desired

Continuing product development

Heating causes fracturing, making milling easier

Perlite desired

Shaped trash can, not just a wrap

Evolutionary use

Evolutionary composition

Improved use for perlite

New use for perlite



Yu, et al.

Brown, et al.


Albright, et al.

Green, Jr., et al.

Brenneis, et al.

Fernando, et al.



Patents: Two Thumbs Up for Perlite





Usual Uses with Evolutionary, Incremental Improvements


by Kenneth Wiener



When you look at the accompanying list of patents involving perlite granted this quarter, note that many of them involve usual uses of perlite with evolutionary, incremental improvements. However, when thinking about perlite in toothpaste (’380, Balmelli, et al.), I believe that an invention that makes a perlite-containing paste more flowable might have additional applications in construction compounds, either with or without the use of Portland cement as a binder. In particular, the ’380 invention involves controlling the percent of floaters in the perlite grades usually used as filter aid. Wang’s patent (’814, assigned to Imerys Filtration) envisions making structural and other parts out of foamed glass made with perlite. Such a material would provide highly insulative parts for construction, such as blocks and roofing tiles, while taking care of another problem. Every perlite mine has to worry about a proper balance of sales of fine and coarse crushed ore. This patent affords an outlet for almost any unused fraction from the crushing process. Lastly, McKee’s patent (’750) teaches a method of improving the ease of crushing perlite ore. He suggests that heating perlite ore to between 350 and 400 degrees F slightly fractures the ore, making grinding it that much easier. His intended use of the fine particles is as a pozzolanic material. Even if none of the listed patents generates any sales for Perlite Institute members, they keep pushing the boundaries of perlite thinking, production and applications. Thanks for continuing this journey with me.



Perlite Today— FALL 2013



Technical Q&As Q: I am working on a project that involves using perlite as under slab insulation. Where can I find data for the compressive strength of pure, tamped perlite (no cement)? A: A great insulation, perlite used under slab can improve the R factor clear up to 25 depending on the thickness used. The perlite remains in bags under the flooring and is not part of the structural support. Some specifics on under slab insulation with perlite can be found at library-perlite-info/insulation-perlite/Perliteunderslab-insulation.pdf. Information on the compressive strength of cement with various levels of perlite is available at Q: What are the effects, if any, of moisture migrating through an unfinished concrete masonry unit (CMU) wall on thermal resistance values of loose-fill perlite insulation? A: There should be insignificant migration of moisture through a CMU wall. More information on the thermal resistance values and acoustic impact of loose-fill perlite insulation can be found at, and Q: We are updating our company’s special report on insulation and adding rigid perlite to our guidebook. We have tables showing a variety of thermal and moisture management properties but are seeking information on vapor permeability of rigid products. Can you help? A: The definition of rigid board is “an insulation board composed of inorganic expanded siliceous volcanic glass (perlite) combined with organic fibers and binders. Air cells within the expanded perlite provide its insulating efficiency. The top surface of the insulation board is treated with either an asphalt coating or a proprietary

coating. The coating is intended to limit adhesive (asphalt) absorption into the insulation during the roof membrane application. Perlite insulation is available in flat boards and tapered boards. Also, perlite rigid products are also listed as pipe insulation and gypsum board.” A number of rigid perlite board products are available from various producers, who should have information relative to the vapor performance of such products. The Perlite Institute does not have product-specific information on these materials. The following links should take you to sites that may enable you to get such information: Roof_Insulation_And_Fastening_Systems/ EnergyGuard_Insulation/Perlite or Q: Does the Perlite Institute have a kosher certificate? A: The Perlite Institute does not have a kosher certificate since certification is done on a company-by-company basis. One of our members, Silbrico, however, does have such a certification. For more information, contact Rick Willis at or Steve Toedt at Q: I am trying to find companies in the United States or Canada that fabricate cold boxes for LNG, ethylene plants, etc. Do you have any leads? A: The Perlite Institute has member producers throughout the world that can readily fill cold boxes when the time arises. Many have the capabilities to unload as well as top off existing units as well. These can be found from the link at the bottom of our website at Want to see more? Have your own question for Chuck Vogelsang, the Perlite Institute’s technical spokesperson? Visit the Perlite Institute Facebook page at or the LinkedIn Group at or email

Perlite Today— FALL 2013



Industry News Aquaponics Greenhouses: Fish and Plants Working Together by Keith McCabe, DiGeronimo Aggregates LLC This article originally ran in the newsletter of the Expanded Shale, Clay and Slate Institute (ESCSI). It is reprinted with permission. Last fall, Urban Vision, a community outreach organization located in Akron, Ohio, started construction on an aquaponics greenhouse. Aquaponics encompasses a completely sustainable ecosystem that combines raising fish (aquaculture) with hydroponics (raising plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. The idea behind aquaponics is that fish and plants serve functions that the other needs, with help from beneficial bacteria. Waste from the fish adds nutrients to the water and fertilizes the plants. In turn, the plant/hydroponic media filter cleans the water in which the fish live. The program’s objectives are to provide healthy food for the community in an urban setting and teach teen leaders how to run a business. Usually the cheapest and most available food in the inner

The aquaponics greenhouse provides healthy fresh produce that is sold to the community at reasonable costs.

city is also the unhealthiest and chemically altered. Urban Vision is growing and selling to the community healthy fresh produce at reasonable costs – peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, squash, asparagus, lettuce and strawberries, just to name a few. Urban Vision’s greenhouse is enclosed in a 40-foot by 24-foot area and has two 750-gallon fish tanks (for yellow perch and tilapia). The fish waste goes into the tanks’ water, which is pumped into various Continued on page 14

Historic Agreement to Usher in Closer Cooperation Among European and Russian Standardization Organizations Leaders from the European and Russian standardization organizations recently signed a historic agreement that will facilitate trade in goods and services between Europe and Russia. The cooperation agreement among the European Committee for Standardization (CEN), the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) and the Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology of the Russian Federation (Rosstandart) provides a framework for closer collaboration on various aspects of standardization. The agreement will help facilitate the sharing of information, the transfer of technical knowledge and the exchange of best practices. The three organizations will meet regularly to discuss issues of common interest and to identify opportunities for collaboration. It will also be

possible for European experts and Russian Technical Committee members to attend each other’s meetings. By developing and deepening their cooperation in the field of standardization, CEN, CENELEC and Rosstandart will contribute to the growth of trade between Europe and Russia and the establishment of a “common economic space” as agreed upon between the European Union and the Russian Federation at the St. Petersburg Summit in May 2003. In particular, they will support the “Partnership for Modernization” that was agreed to at the 2010 EU-Russia summit and which includes “promoting alignment of technical regulations and standards” among its priority areas. More information can be found on the CENCENELEC website.

Perlite Today— FALL 2013



News from the Perlite Institute Deadline is Dec. 31

Please Remember to Pay Your Perlite Institute Dues Thank you for supporting the Perlite Institute throughout this past year. In an effort to continue the momentum, the Perlite Institute sent you your first 2014 dues renewal notice in mid-October so to provide you with enough time to pay before the membership deadline of Dec. 31, 2013. If you have not yet submitted payment, please do so today. By renewing your membership, you can take advantage of the following member benefits: ◆ Access to the members’ only section of the website, including access to the information guides ◆ Company page on the Perlite Institute website ◆ Ability to hear top-notch speakers and network at annual meetings ◆ Subscription to the quarterly newsletter, Perlite Today ◆ Timely health, environmental and regulatory information ◆ Use of the Perlite Institute logo and name in your advertising, website and other materials If you have any questions concerning the membership renewal process, please email Angela at or 717-238-9723. We look forward to serving you throughout this next year!

Welcome, New Perlite Institute Members The following new members recently joined the Perlite Institute. Let’s help welcome them to our membership! Regular: Emir Ergec, Bergama Perlite, Bergama Turkey Associate Laercio Solla, Buntech, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Help Us Make Your Newsletter Even More Useful Please help us make Perlite Today the most relevant and useful it can be for you, our members. Email your ideas and any leads you may have for future articles to the editor, Amy, at We hope to hear from you soon with your suggestions.

Aquaponics Greenhouses: Fish and Plants Working Together Continued from page 13

growing beds filled with 100 percent expanded shale, clay and slate lightweight aggregate soilless media. The aggregate filters the nutrients out of the water, allowing the seeds planted in the beds to absorb them and to grow. ESCS aggregate is an excellent home for the growth of bacteria that plants need for development. The water recycles out of the beds and back into the fish tanks, returning fresh, oxygenated water back to the fish.  The process is all-natural with no chemicals or additives. Even the waste from harvested plants goes into a compost pile where Urban Vision grows worms to feed the fish and create more fertilizer for the plants. While traditional greenhouses have to keep the entire environment warm, aquaponics systems focus on heating the water instead of the air. A hot-water line from Urban Vision’s boiler wraps around the fish tanks to keep the fish and water warm. Warming the water heats the plant beds as it cycles through the system and provides warmth for the fish. If the fish get too cold, they hibernate and neither eat nor produce waste to feed the plants. Aquaponics systems produce about twice as much from the plants as traditional gardening methods, and they also produce fish to eat. The systems are organic, and the plants are pest-free and weed-free. Talk about sustainability! 

Perlite Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; FALL 2013



Updated Product Guide

To view this product guide and many more, go to the

Perlite Information Library.

Perlite Today— FALL 2013



Selected Upcoming Trade Shows and Meetings Opening Date

Closing Date

Name of Show



11/12/2013 11/14/2013


Chicago, Ill., Navy Pier

11/14/2013 11/15/2013

Green Industry Show

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Edmonton Expo Centre

11/18/2013 11/23/2013 11/20/2013 11/21/2013

Greenbuild Exposition Days

Philadelphia, Pa. Pennsylvania Convention Center


Construct Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada Metro Toronto Convention Centre

12/10/2013 12/12/2013

Green Expo

Atlantic City, N.J. Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort



Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show

Baltimore, Md. Baltimore Convention Center



Mid-Atlantic Horticultural Trade Show

Newport News, Va. Newport News Marriott at City Center



World of Concrete

Las Vegas, Nev. Las Vegas Convention Center



Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Broward County Convention Center



Chicago Roofing Contractors Assn. Oakbrook Terrace, Ill Drury Lane Conference Center



Landscape Industry Show



National Assoc. of Home Builders Las Vegas, Nev. Las Vegas Convention Center



National Concrete Masonry Assoc. Palm Springs, Calif. Westin Mission Hills Resort



National Precast Concrete Assoc.



NESEA Building Energy Conference Boston, Mass. Seaport World Trade Center -14/?instance_id=353



Green Cities - Australia

Melbourne, Australia Grand Hyatt Melbourne



San Francisco Flower & Garden Show

San Mateo, Calif. San Mateo Event Center



Roof India

Chennai, India, Chennai Trade Centre



Western Roofing Expo –0 2014

Las Vegas, Nev. Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino



World of Asphalt/Aggregates Forum Baltimore, Md. (Biennial — 2015) Baltimore Convention Center


Los Angeles, Calif. Los Angeles Convention Center

Houston, Texas, Hilton Americas

Perlite 2013 fall final  
Perlite 2013 fall final