Lightweight News - Summer 2019

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Collaborating to promote vermiculite. Encouraging and promoting best practices. Dedicated to safety, integrity and honesty.


MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT Building Membership Builds Our Future By Jerry Austin I hope everyone is having a productive and prosperous summer. I know everyone is busy, but I hope to catch your attention for a brief moment to update you on a few items. Your attention is most appreciated. The goal of our association is to give one voice to our collective initiatives and concerns. The conference started a lot of interesting dialogue among our members, and I hope to keep this conversation going. Most of our daily focus is on how to improve our individual companies’ bottom lines, but we must remember that, to the world at large, we collectively provide a broad range of international services. We need to stress to non-association members that their companies’ success stories are not reaching the broadest possible audience if they don’t belong to the Vermiculite Association. TVA’s value-add can be summarized as the following:





We have found that people are more likely to join an association if a friend or colleague personally invites them. I have been involved in the TVA for 25 years, expanding both my professional knowledge as well as building meaningful personal relationships. It is a great time to recruit new TVA members so that we can all contribute to our organization’s continued growth. Thanks for your continuing efforts! Jerry 1


TVA Board of Directors President Jerry Austin J.P. Austin Associates Inc. Beaver Falls, Pa. 724-846-6510


Directors Donna Frassrand Chatfield Specialty Vermiculite Corporation Lilburn, Ga. 770-292-0396


ASSOCIATION NEWS Help TVA Improve Our Blog & Newsletter Content TVA is always looking for ways to promote vermiculite and our members through our blog and newsletters! To do so, we need your help finding content relevant to our members’ interests. Take a few minutes to fill out the survey to help us provide the content you want to see! Please complete this survey by September 15. Thank you for your feedback!

Vice President Tim DeJarnette The Strong Company Pine Bluff, Ark. 870-535-7617 timdejarnette@


TVA 2019 Annual Meeting Materials Are Now Available

VACANT 2018-2021

TVA held its Annual Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland in May. It was a great meeting filled with informative sessions, networking and the opportunity to tour the impressive capital of Scotland.

Dan Metz Virginia Vermiculite Louisa, Va. 540-967-2266

Whether you were able to attend or not, all members can access the information from the meeting. Below are links to some of the available resources.


Visit the members only section of our website where you can find additional materials including meeting presentations and photos.

Jeffrey Sheehy Whittemore Co. Inc. Lawrence, Mass. 978-681-8833

Non-member attendees interested in obtaining the presentations can do so by emailing


Secretary-Treasurer Andreá Turquino Brasil Minérios Goiania, Brazil +62 3096 7569 Andrea.turquino@


Immediate Past President Sandi Delarm Palabora America Kennesaw, Ga. 770-356-5582


Click Here to Take the Survey

Jim Juron Traxys Cometals Fort Lee, N.J. 201-302-0888


Annual Meeting Minutes

2019 Annual Meeting Materials



Final Attendee Listing

The next Annual Meeting will be held in May 2020. Watch for the dates and location to be announced. We hope you will plan to join us! 2


FROM THE DESK OF YOUR TECHNICAL CONSULTANT The latest news, observations and insights into the world of vermiculite by Mike Darling

Is Vermiculite a Critical Raw Material? Industrial Minerals Review 2016/2017

The simple answer to this is regrettably no, according to the European Union! However, perlite and some other mineral commodities are discussed as non-critical raw materials, and some useful information can be gleaned from clicking here.

In this document there is coverage of a wide range of metallic and mineral commodities in an easily readable format. The section covering vermiculite is written by Eric Moeller, of Nanoparticle Consultancy LLC, and the perlite section is written by Bowen Li, of the Michigan Technological University. It covers several other industrial minerals of interest such as bentonite diatomite, talc, mica, kaolin, common clays even peat is covered! Most of the production and usage data is mainly of U.S. Geological Survey origin but, it still provides a relatively concise and easily readable summary of the situation in 2017. It is definitely worth downloading and reading.

Perlite is listed under the individual abiotic materials classified as being abiotic. “Abiotic� is a collective phrase encompassing metals (or metallic ores), industrial minerals and construction materials. These are derived from static reserves. Perlite is not referenced as being critical. Vermiculite is not even listed. There is some useful information to be gleaned here, though, and the non-critical raw materials factsheets are an interesting read. They can be accessed by clicking here.

You can find it here.

Engineering Minerals for Performance Applications: An Industrial Perspective Published by Clay Minerals in February 2014, this document makes only a fairly limited reference to both vermiculite and perlite. However, it is certainly an informative read for those interested in the field of industrial minerals as a whole. It is absolutely worth downloading and reading. The author is J. S. Phipps, of Imerys Minerals Limited, Par Moor Centre, Par, Cornwall PL24 2SQ, UK. This is an open access document and downloadable here. 3



Tarantula Bedding Using Vermiculite

The following link provides access to a historic geological report discussing the kyanite and vermiculite deposits in Georgia as of 1935. Regrettably, significantly more attention is paid to the kyanite resources, but the last few pages of this report are devoted to vermiculite.

Vermiculite is the most popular product used for incubating reptile eggs. It is able to hold a massive amount of water for its weight and volume and can achieve high humidity over a substantial amount of time. Other advantages are that it doesn’t rot or support microbial growth.

This report is by the Geological Survey of Georgia Department of Forestry and Geological Development and is written by Richard W. Smith, state geologist, and Louis M. Pringle, associate geologist, U.S. Geological Survey.

The fine grade is recommended for small, soft-shelled eggs and the coarse grade for large hard-shelled eggs. Tarantula keepers also often use vermiculite with South American spiders like Avicularia and other species that require constant high humidity.

You can find the whole document here.

Dynamic Energy Absorbing Characteristics of Lightweight Vermiculite Concrete

Vermiculite is good for where you need stable, high humidity for long periods of time. With some South American and Asian species, 20% to 30% vermiculite is mixed with coco fibre to help keep the humidity high. Bear in mind that no spiders like stagnant conditions, so make sure you also have good airflow. We use the same mix for “spiderlings” since it makes burrowing easier.

This is another piece of fascinating digitized vermiculite history!

See more on this topic from the Spider Shop here.

It was written by Clarke Covinigton, of the Structural Mechanical Research Laboratory at the Balcones Research Centre of the University of Texas, Austin Texas, in June 1961. Here’s the abstract: The dynamic energy-absorption characteristics of confined lightweight vermiculite concrete are presented in the form of stress-strain and stresstime curves. In addition, data are included which show the effects of impact velocity and impact mass weight on these characteristics. Stress-strain and energy-absorption characteristics are discussed. A comparison is made between a dynamic and a static stress-strain curve for this material. For a cementto-vermiculite mix of one to eight, the initial peak crushing stress is between 420 and 570 psi, and the average crushing stress to 30% strain is between 350 and 460 psi. The energy dissipated to 30% strain is between 8.8 and 10.9 ft-lb/in3. The full text can be accessed here. Continued on next page...



FROM THE DESK OF YOUR TECHNICAL CONSULTANT Chilli Penguin Vermiculite Fire Bricks If you are feeling a bit “chilly” after reading that, then perhaps you might like to look at the company Chilli Penguin, which has a rather fetching strapline as a penguin-themed, local distributor of wood burning stoves and spares such as vermiculite firebricks in North Wales of “within waddling distance.” They also wish their readers “a warm welcome and croeso cynnes.” For those who don’t read Welsh Gaelic, “croeso cynnes” translates as a “warm welcome” so, no big surprises there! For more information, click here.

Growing Chillies with Vermiculite Soil Conditioner Vermiculite has long been used as a soil additive and conditioner by growers. It is a very light, non-toxic substance that absorbs many times its own weight in water and releases it back as plants need it. With the water, it also absorbs and then releases nutrients, thus preventing their leaching from the soil with regular watering. Vermiculite breaks up compost and aerates the soil, which is great for growing chillies that hate to sit in waterlogged, compacted soil. Sprinkled around the top of the soil, vermiculite insulates it from temperature fluctuations as well as slows down weed growth. All in all, it’s a useful soil conditioner. Add two or three handfuls to a 7-liter pot (preferably filled with a 75% compost, 25% coir mix), and you have a chilli plant’s dream medium. Read more here.

Using Vermiculite in Plaster Casts for Orthotics and Prosthetics Exfoliated vermiculite is used in the production of plaster casts where there is a requirement to lower the weight of large casts. Limbtex Ltd., is an independent manufacturer and distributor of materials to the Prosthetic and Orthotic Industry in the U.K. Click here to read more about that topic. Continued on next page...



Are You Blogging?


As you know, TVA launched a blog on its website to promote vermiculite and raise awareness of its uses.

Growing Mushrooms at Home with Vermiculite

We need your help to build this new resource. Have you written an article recently or have resources you can share that can be published on the blog?

Interested in growing mushrooms at home? The PF Tek method is a simple, effective way to grow shiitake and oyster mushrooms.

We are looking for people to share about:

Construction Horticulture Industrial Best Practices Health, Safety and Environmental Topics If you have content that relates to these topics, please send articles and pictures to Michelle at

This method, originally published in 1995 by an individual who used the pseudonym Psilocybe Fanaticus, involves steaming vermiculite and brown rice flour in small, half-pint canning jars. Once cool, the concoction is injected with a syringe of spores or a liquid culture. Growers ultimately end up with colonized “cakes” of mycelium that are fruited in a small terrarium.

Check Out the Blog

There are several key reasons why this is a good method for beginners. First, it uses materials that are available everywhere. Vermiculite is available at most garden centers and brown rice flour is available at health food stores and many groceries. Second, it is possible to sterilize this substrate by simply steaming the jars in a pot on the stove. Regrettably, this method’s origins were more infamous for its usage in the cultivation of illegal hallucinogenic varieties of mushrooms, and the PF pseudonym character incurred the wrath of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. For more information, read this. 6



a listing of literature about the use of vermiculite A Fe Mössbauer Spectral Study of Vermiculitization in the Palabora Complex, Republic of South Africa

The Use of Response Surface Methodology for Modelling of Lead (II) Removal from Industrial Waste by Pumice and Vermiculite

Publisher: Clay Minerals, Volume 35, Issue 4, published online July 2018

Publisher: International Journal of Global Warming, 2018, Vol. 15

Authors: R. Badreddine, F. Grandjean, D. Vandormael, A.M. Fransolet and G. J. Long

Authors: Fulya Aydin Temel; Nurdan Gamze Turan; Okan Ozgonenel; Yüksel Ardalı

Two phlogopite, two mixed-layer phlogopitevermiculite, and two vermiculite samples collected from the Palabora Complex of South Africa have been investigated at 295 K by X-ray diffraction, chemical analysis, and Mössbauer spectroscopy. In addition, the temperature dependence of the Mössbauer spectra has been measured between 95 and 295 K for one phlogopite and one mixed-layer sample. The results of the chemical analyses and the Mössbauer spectra improve our knowledge of the vermiculitization process in the Palabora Complex. Both techniques indicate oxidation of the Fe ions during the sequence: phlogopite → mixed-layer → vermiculite. Further, the Mössbauer spectra indicate that Fe oxidation occurs mainly in the octahedral sites and suggest that migration and oxidation of the Fe2+ ions from the octahedral sites to the tetrahedral sites may occur during the transformation of phlogopite into a mixed-layer phase. Finally, the vermiculitization process involves both Fe oxidation and loss of K with a concomitant increase in the Mg content.

The main goal of the present work was to search the feasibility of pumice and vermiculite as adsorbents for lead (II) removal from industrial waste by using Box-Behnken method. Batch adsorption method was performed to evaluate the feasibility. Box-Behnken surface statistical design approach with three inlet parameters namely pH (2, 5, 8), adsorbent concentration (10, 50, 100 mg L−1), and contact time (5, 30, 120 min) was conformed optimising experimental conditions of lead (II) adsorption process. Experiments were carried out regression analysis demonstrated good proper of the experimental data to the linear model with coefficient of determination (R2) values of 91.49% and 98.51% for vermiculite and pumice, respectively. Optimisation of pH (2-2), adsorbent concentration (57.81 mg L−1−75.00 mg L−1), and contact time (89.06 min, −78.50 min) gave a maximum of ≈ 99.99% lead (II) removal for vermiculite and pumice, respectively.

The Investigation of Vermiculite as an Alternating Shielding Material for Gamma Rays Publisher: Radiation Physics and Chemistry, Volume 130, January 2017 Authors: Gülbiçim, Hasan; Tufan, M. Çağatay; Türkan, M. Nureddin In this study, gamma ray shielding properties of vermiculite has been investigated for the first time as a shielding material. The photon total mass attenuation coefficients μm, the half value layer (HVL), the tenth value layer (TVL) and the mean free path (MFP) values have been experimentally determined for the photon energies at 0.244, 0.262, 0.342, 0.600, 0.778, 1.173, 1.332, 1.408 and 1.728 MeV. The theoretical data are calculated by using WinXCom computer code. At the end, we obtained good agreement between experimental and theoretical values. As well as the total mass attenuation coefficients, we have also calculated the effective atomic number, Zeff, the effective electron number, Neff, the total atomic cross-section, σt,a, the total electronic cross-section, σt,e, values for vermiculite and some building materials. Consequently, the obtained results showed that vermiculite could be used as a shielding material for gamma radiation. 7



a listing of literature about the use of vermiculite Removal of Caesium from Aqueous Solution by Adsorption onto Sivas-Yıldızel (Turkey) Vermiculite: Equilibrium, Kinetic and Thermodynamic Studies. Publisher: Journal of the Turkish Chemical Society, 2018, Volume 5, Issue 1 Authors: Hilmi Arkut Akalin, Ümran Hiçsönmez, Hatice Yılmaz, In this study, caesium adsorption performance of raw vermiculite obtained from Sivas-Yıldızeli region of Turkey was investigated using batch adsorption method. In order to obtain the optimum adsorption conditions, different adsorbent dosages, contact times, solution pH’s, initial caesium concentrations and temperature ranges were investigated. Amount of caesium ions and percentage of caesium adsorbed by vermiculite in solution media were calculated using ICP-OES technique and noted as mg/g and % adsorbed Cs. Kinetic studies demonstrated that the adsorption process was in accordance with the second-order pseudo kinetic model, and equilibrium isotherm modelling studies showed that the process was compatible with Langmuir, Freundlich and Temkin adsorption isotherm models – meaning the Cs adsorption process had both physical and chemical characters. Negative Gibbs energy values obtained from thermodynamic studies revealed that the adsorption process was spontaneous and had a high feasibility. Additionally, negative enthalpy value indicated that process was exothermic, meaning the amount of Cs ions decreased with increasing reaction temperatures, and positive entrophy value showed that disorderliness between solidliquid phase increased during adsorption. Results clearly indicate that vermiculite mineral has a promising potential in removing Cs+ ions from aqueous media, which means the mineral may also be used in decomposing and efficiently removing radioactive caesium from contaminated waters.

Effect of Nanozinc Oxide and Organic Expanded Vermiculite Compound on Anti-aging Properties of SBR Modified Bitumen Publisher: Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, Volume 29, Issue 11, November 2017 Authors: Henglong Zhang, Zihao Chen, Lu Li This work focuses on the effect of nanozinc oxide (nano-ZnO) and organic expanded vermiculite (OEVMT) compound on physical and aging properties of styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) modified bitumen. The binders were aged according to thin film oven test (TFOT), pressure aging vessel (PAV) test and ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The results showed that the addition of antiaging additives could enhance the high-temperature stability of SBR modified bitumen by increasing in softening point and viscosity while declining in penetration. Antiaging additives have a positive effect on thermal and photo oxidation aging resistance of SBR modified bitumen. But the degree of improvement depends on the type and content of antiaging additive. Both the sulfoxide index (SI) increment and the butadiene index (BI) decrement of SBR modified bitumen +1%+1% OEVMT +3%+3% nano-ZnO (SOZ3) are smaller than that of a blank sample after all three aging modes, the result adding weight to the conclusion that the compound of nano-ZnO and OEVMT can efficiently enhance the performance of SBR modified bitumen to mitigate both thermal oxidative and photo oxidative aging.

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Earning Their Trust by Jeff Tippett Trust is perhaps the most important factor of persuasion. If you master all the other elements of persuasion, but others don’t trust you, you will not persuade them. Period. Emphasizing personal relationships through building trust is essential to succeed in both your personal and professional lives. Most people think of trust in terms of the things we do to earn it. And while I focus there too, we need to start much deeper. The foundation for building trust is your motivation, what’s in your heart, the spirit in which you eventually do those things to earn it. A well-trained salesperson can easily fool others for a while, but in the end, I don’t think it’s sustainable. I encourage you to pause and look within. I believe that others’ trust in you begins with who you are as a person and what your intentions are. And, ultimately, no amount of smooth talking can make up for the wrong intentions.

At the outset, most of your audience will either be neutral or slightly disinclined to trust you. But you now have what you need to begin earning their trust. We also have to check our own motivations and determine what drives us. Is our primary focus on ourselves, or do we place a priority on others? This simply, yet often overlooked, mindset can change how people perceive us and affects our ability to persuade them. Here are a few concepts that you can leverage to solidify trust.

Be consistent It takes multiple interactions for your audience to begin to get a feel for who you are. These could be face-to-face meetings, phone calls or social media communication. You will need to be precise and consistent for people to begin to fully understand you, know your story and start to trust you. Often, even the slightest deviation can set you back. Speaking of social media, you have to consider every post and what it says about your brand. Every interaction online, whether posting, sharing or commenting, gives your audience clues to your brand presence. I would argue that every single post—no exceptions—has to support the brand you are creating. Any deviation can derail your quest to earn the trust of others. Continued on next page...



Deliver as promised We’ve probably all had someone promise us a deliverable—whether a creative asset, meeting time, contract, phone call, email, etc.—and not, in fact, deliver. Failing to deliver as promised can harm your brand and the fragile trust you’re building with your audience. We’re often so eager to please that we commit to things that, realistically, we know we can’t deliver. In the moment, that promise feels comforting. It’s nice to think you’re going to fulfill someone’s wants or needs. But while your audience may be happy in the moment that you said yes to their request—and that makes you feel good, as well—nobody is going to feel good when expectations aren’t met. Overpromising will not only disappoint; it will set back your quest for trust. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver. If your audience is asking for something, and you know you can’t deliver, manage expectations. Explain the rationale for why you can’t deliver. Even better, frame your response in a way that shows why your decision is best for them. For example, I recently had a speakers’ bureau reach out because they were interested in representing me. But I knew that my time constraints would not allow me to complete their onboarding process in a manner consistent with my own standards. I told them I was interested, but explained that I wanted to make time to present quality assets. I then told them when I could reasonably expect to get everything to them, and they accepted my timeline.

But let me add this disclaimer: Know your audience. Know the extent to which they’re willing to “get real with you”— where the boundaries lie. To the extent that your audience is willing to be open and authentic, I encourage you to respond as much as you are comfortable in doing. This authenticity will allow your audience to trust you more profoundly. Besides, you don’t want them wondering what you might be hiding.

Be open to feedback We all wish that we were perfect all the time, but in reality, we are not. We make mistakes. We miss the mark. That’s why it is important to listen to what others have to say. Being open to feedback and incorporating it, as appropriate, will most likely boost others’ trust. If you think you know everything and the best way to do everything, you’re likely only fooling yourself. Others will see that, and it will negatively impact their trust in you. Remember: Without trust, you have nothing. It is the foundation upon which all relationships are built. This is true for your personal and professional lives alike.

About the Author: Jeff Tippett Jeff Tippett is the international, best-selling author of two books, “Pixels Are the New Ink” and “Unleashing Your Superpower: Why Persuasive Communication is the Only Force You Will Ever Need.” Speaking to international audiences through keynotes and seminars, Tippett helps attendees increase their effectiveness, gives them powerful tools to reach their goals and empowers attendees to positively impact and grow their organizations or businesses. In 2014, Jeff founded Targeted Persuasion, an award-winning public affairs and communications firm. He has worked with renowned brands including Airbnb, The National Restaurant Association and The League of Women Voters. Tippett, whose Metro Stylethe prestigious American Advertising industry recognition includes Award from the American Advertising Federation, is the host of “Victory by Association with Jeff Tippett,” a podcast that shares the victories of association executives with the world, highlighting the great work done Metro Style Style across this country everyMetro day. You can find Tippet here:

Contrast that approach to overpromising. Had I done that, and not provided the requested information on time, we would have begun what could be a mutually beneficial arrangement on the wrong foot. And if they can’t trust me with the initial process, they won’t be able to trust me when it matters to their clients. Under-promise. Over-deliver. Every time. It’s a winning formula.

Social Media Icons

Be open and authentic

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I acknowledge that being open and authentic within the business community often raises eyebrows. Most of us have been trained to leave our personal self outside the door when we walk into the office. I disagree with that.



Articles for Lightweight News TVA is always looking for articles for this newsletter to keep its contents relevant for our members. Articles should range from 200 to 500 words, and photos are welcome. Articles can be about a unique project you’ve been involved with, your company’s community involvement, an industry hot topic, an honor or award—really, anything you think your fellow TVA members would want to read about. The deadline to submit for the Fall 2019 issue (published in November) is Friday, Oct. 4. Email articles to Carolyn at

Our Mission: To be the leading vermiculite association in the world and to gather, develop and disseminate accurate and truthful information and regulations, form and encourage collaborations, provide services and promote best practices to members, fund development of new uses and technologies and promote the knowledge and safe use of vermiculite on a global scale.

Lightweight News is a quarterly e-publication of The Vermiculite Association. Material in this e-newsletter may be republished with permission of TVA and with proper line credit. Mention of commercial products in this publication is solely for information purposes, and endorsement is not intended by TVA. Material does not directly reflect the opinions or beliefs of the board or staff.

Additional Resources on the TVA Website

Contact Us: THE VERMICULITE ASSOCIATION 2207 Forest Hills Drive Harrisburg, PA 17112 Phone: 717-238-9902 Fax: 717-238-9985 Website:

TVA’s website,, contains a variety of resources, including these documents about vermiculite: Vermiculite in the Construction Market

Staff Contacts:

Horticultural Vermiculite

Executive Director: Denise Calabrese, CAE

Health, Safety and Environmental Aspects Crystal Structure of Magnesium Vermiculite Peat-Lite

Newsletter Editor: Carolyn Kimmel

Vermiculite Concrete Vermiculite Data Vermiculite in the Industrial Sector The Use of Vermiculite as a Technological Additive in Animal Feedstuffs Vermiculite Gypsum Plasters

TVA's staff wants you to get the most out of your experience with TVA. We are available to serve you, so please do not hesitate to contact staff with any question or concern that you may have. For a full staff listing, please click here.

Collaborating to promote vermiculite. Encouraging and promoting best practices. Dedicated to safety, integrity and honesty. 11