AUSPERLhas a number of industrial applications including:
Insulation in Steelworks and Foundries
Good thermal insulation, low density and its natural refractory properties combine with ease of application to makea highly suitable material for use in steelworks and foundries. It is used for hot topping molten steel to reduce heat loss from ingots and ladles and generally as a loose-fill insulator.
Vermiculite for refractory and high temperature insulation is normally bonded with alumina cements, fire clays and silicates to produce a wide range of vermiculite products which, depending on type and application can withstand hot face temperatures of up to 1100ºC.
The type of refractory products made using vermiculite are:-
- pre-fired clay bonded insulation firebricks;
- castable high alumina concretes for back up insulation;
- high alumina bonded bricks, slabs and special shapes; and
- silicate bonded insulating shapes and moulded products. .
Exfoliated vermiculite is a useful packaging medium. Not only is it light weight, clean and easily poured around irregular shaped objects, it also provides a good baffle against shocks caused by impact and improper handling. Being highly absorbent, it safely retains leaks from packed materials such as hazardous chemicals. As it is inorganic it does not present any potential fire hazards making it suitable for use in air freight. Exfoliated vermiculite can also be used as a packing material for storing fruit, bulbs and tubers. Vermiculite degrades naturally, so is easily disposed of. Being soft and non-abrasive it has also been used effectively for insulation and cushioning the base of plastic-lined swimming pools.
Vermiculite is recognised as a material particularly suited for fire protection. Vermiculite-based products range from factory made boards and panels to premixed coatings suitable for application by mechanical spray or by hand plastering techniques on a range of structures. These coatings have been used in the petrochemical industry and tunnel construction.
Vermiculite is now used extensively in the friction lining industry (e.g. brake and clutch linings) as a safe alternative to asbestos, and plays an important role in this field.
Bitumen Coated Vermiculite Screeds
Vermiculite, coated with a bituminous binder, can be used as a dry, light weight roof screed. This type of screed has the advantages of low thermal conductivity, low moisture content and ease of placement.