Vermiculite

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Vermiculite
Missing image
VermiculiteUSGOV.jpg
Vermiculite
General
Category Mineral
Chemical formula (MgFe,Al)3(Al,Si)4O10(OH)2.4H2O
Identification
Colour Honey
Crystal habit Clay, scaly, aggregate
Crystal system Monoclinic
Cleavage Perfect
Fracture Uneven
Mohs Scale hardness 2-3
Luster Vitreous
Refractive index Translucent
Pleochroism None
Streak Pale yellow
Specific gravity 2.4-2.7
Fusibility ?
Solubility ?
Major varieties
None

Vermiculite is a natural mineral which expands with the application of heat. It is formed by hydration of certain basaltic minerals, and is often found in association with asbestos. The mineral was extracted during the 1960s in Libby, Montana, under the commercial name Zonolite (the Zonolite brand was acquired by the W.R. Grace Company in 1963[1] (http://www.grace.com/html/history.html#1960)). Mining operations on the Libby site stopped in 1990 in response to asbestos contamination. The United States government estimates that it is used in more than 35 million homes.

World production of vermiculite in the year 2000 exceeded 500 kilotons (metric). Major producers of vermiculite include China, South Africa, Australia, Zimbabwe, and the United States of America.

Expanded vermiculite is used as a soil conditioner, as loose-fill insulating and packing material, as an insulating filler for plaster and concrete compounds, and as a carrier for dry handling and slow release of agricultural chemicals. Vermiculite is often used along with perlite as a soil additive for potted plants, and as growing mediums for hydroponics.


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