Perlite is an amorphous volcanic glass which has a relatively high water content and occurs naturally. It has one of the most unusual property, i.e. it greatly expands when sufficiently heated
Perlite becomes soft, as it is a glass, at a temperature of 850-900°C. The trapped water in the structure of perlite escapes and makes the material to expand 7 - 15 times of its original volume. The expanded material is brilliant white in color because of the reflectivity of the trapped bubbles.
The density of raw perlite or the unexpanded perlite is around 1100 kg/m3 (1.1 g/cm3). The density of typically expanded perlite is 30 - 150 kg/m3.
- Improves aeration & drainage
- Makes moisture & nutrients readily available to plants
- Is inorganic & doesn't deteriorate
- Has essentially neutral PH of 6.5 to 7.5
- Serves as an insulator to reduce extreme soil temperature fluctuations
- Is sterile and free of weeds & diseases
- Is clean, odorless, lightweight and safe to handle.
Since Perlite has low density and is relatively economical, it is used in Horticulture in following ways:
- Plant Rooting
- Seed Starting Medium
- Growing Medium
- Soil Conditioner