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Efficient exploitation of EU perlite resources for the development of a new generation of innovative and high added value micro-perlite based materials for Chemical, Construction and Manufacturing (ExPerl)
Start date: May 1, 2009, End date: Apr 30, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Among the various industrial minerals needed by the EU industry, perlite is highly important both from technological and economic point of view with many applications in Construction (ceiling tiles; mortars, as loose-fill insulation), Chemical industry (cryogenics, filter media for chemicals, food products, water purification) and in horticultural applications. Conventionally expanded perlite has a number of favourable properties (inert, fire resistant and incombustible, good sound and thermal insulation) but is also characterised by low strength, lack of durability, high porosity and easy deterioration that limit the range of its applications and affect the quality of conventional perlite based products. These unfavourable properties originate from the sponge-like open structure of expanded perlite granules, which results from the technology of the expansion process. However, with the application of innovative expansion techniques (indirect heating, microwave) it is possible to produce micro-sized perlite particles with spherical shape and closed structure (CSP), which have all the favourable properties of the conventionally expanded ones and also enhanced mechanical (strength, durability) and physical properties ( porosity, thermal conductivity). The objective of this proposal is the production of micro-sized closed structure perlite with the application of breakthrough perlite expansion technologies and the development of a new generation high added value end- products based on CSP, including preformed insulating products (panels, boards and bricks), mortars and functional fillers tailored for the Construction, Manufacturing and Chemical industry The new CSP-based end-products will present a good number of favourable properties as they will be lightweight, inert, non toxic, recyclable, of high strength, with improved insulating properties, incombustible, unchangeable over time under and of low cost highly attractive for the European consumer.

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