What Is Vermiculite?

Close-up of vermiculite
••• praisaeng/iStock/Getty Images

In its raw form, it is a layered brownish mica-like mineral that greatly expands when it is heated. The expansion occurs when water that resides between the layers of the substance is converted to steam. You can think of it as a mineral form of popcorn with a remarkable number of uses.


Vermiculite is found in various parts of the world, including Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Kenya, Russia, South Africa, Uganda, the United States and Zimbabwe. Vermiculite is mined by "open cast" techniques that separate the ore from the waste. It is then screened into several particle sizes. Mining is typically done in a way that reduces the environmental impact.


Because of its inert chemical nature, compressibility, low density and heat resistance, vermiculite is used in a variety of ways. It is used in friction materials like car brake linings, as a soil amendment that improves aeration while retaining moisture, in packaging material (for protecting expensive china, for instance), heat- and fire-resistant coatings and in construction for things like the core of fire doors and insulation.

Related Articles

Uses of PVC Plastic
Neoprene Vs. Natural Rubber
Uses for Gypsum Powder
How Do Certain Fabrics Hold Warmth?
What Are the Uses of Carbon Dioxide Gas?
What Is Wrought Steel Pipe?
How to Recycle Polystyrene Foam
What Is Metallurgical Coke?
Limestone Chemical Components
What Is Perlite?
Uses for Limestone Powder
Recycled Glass Countertops vs. Granite
List of Minerals Found Under the Sea Bed
Uses for Petroleum Coke
What Is Magnesium Carbonate?
Can Aluminum Be Heated & Bent?
About Heat Weathering
The Effects of High Temperature on Epoxy
Natural Gas Information

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!