Safety Data sheet

Vermiculite - material safety

Grades

Crude PP & V vermiculite from the Palabora mine consists of golden to brown flakes which are carefully classified into five grades - each with a specified range of particle sizes, as detailed in the table below.

GRADE Particle size distribution min. 80% retained (mm) Loose bulk Density kg/m3
LARGE -8.0 + 2.8 700 - 850
MEDIUM -4.0 + 1.4 800 - 950
FINE -2.0 + 0.710 850 - 1050
SUPERFINE -1.0 + 0.355 850 - 1050
MICRON -0.710 + 0.250 850 - 1050
* With Comparison in storage or transitthis can incrfease to 1250 kg/m3

Palabora exfoliated pp & v vermiculite

Vermiculite is most widely used in its exfoliated form.  The concertina-shaped granules of exfoliated vermiculite are non-combustible as well as being insoluble in water and all organic solvents.  Safe and easy to handle, exfoliated vermiculite is available in the market place in five different grades as shown in the table below:
Volume yields for exfoliated vermiculite:

Grade Typical loose bulk densities of product(kg/m3) Typical volume yields per ton of crude vermiculite processed (m3)
MICRON 105 - 135
7.5 - 9.0
SUPERFINE 85 - 100
8.5 - 10.0
FINE 75 - 85
10.5 - 11.5
MEDIUM 70 - 85
11.5 - 13.0
LARGE 60 - 75
13.0 - 14.5

The above values are those obtained by commercial operation of the Mandoval Ltd. S.S.T. Rotary Exfoliator.  These values may vary for different designs of exfoliator.
pH value: 7.5 - 9.0
Thermal conductivity: 0.063 - 0.069 W/m°C under ambient conditions
Specific surface area: The specific surface area for exfoliated vermiculite, as measured by the nitrogen absorption technique, is typically:

Specific surface area m2/g
MICRON 6.4
SUPERFINE 5.4
FINE 4.4
MEDIUM 4.0

Chemical analysis

The chemical analysis of both crude and exfoliated vermiculite is the same.
Typical ranges for major components:

SiO2 35 - 41%
Al2O3 6.0 - 10.0%
Fe2O3 6.0 - 9.5%
MgO 21.5 - 25.5%
K2O 3.0 - 6.0%

Typical ranges for minor components:

CaO 2.0 - 6.0%
CO2 0.6 - 2.5%
TiO2 0.6 - 1.4%
F 0.2 - 0.8%
Cr2O3 0.01 - 0.10%
P 0.2 - 2.0%
Cl 0 - 0.5%

Angle of repose: 38° to 26° according to grade
Specific heat: 1.03 kJ.K. at 20°C 1.05kJ/kg.K. at 30°C
Specific gravity: 2.5 to 2.6 depending on the grade
Mohs hardness: Between 1 & 2
pH value: 8.5 to 10
Weight loss: At 105°C - 4.5 to 6.5%. At 95°C - 8.0 - 10.0%
Aspect ratio: As received, this varies from 7:1 to 30:1 depending on the grade. Mechanical processing can produce aspect ratios of 50:1. Chemical and mechanical processing can produce ratios of 200:1
Cation exchange: The exchangeable cation normally present in vermiculite is magnesium.  The cation exchange capacity of Palabora vermiculite is up to 600 milliequivalents per kg. The rate of cation exchange will depend on exposed surface area.  Therefore, best results are obtained using exfoliated vermiculite.

Absorbtion capacity

All grades of exfoliated vermiculite will retain liquids within the inter-laminar voids of the individual particles as well as between the particles themselves.
The table below gives an indication of the quantity of liquid which can be retained using Superfine grade vermiculite before drainage of the liquid occurs.

LIQUID VOLUME OF LIQUID ABSORBED IN 1 LITRE OF VERMICULITE (ml)
Water 457
Diesel Oil 335
15/40 Multigrade Oil 356
Heavy Gear Oil 411
 
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PALABORA COPPER (PTY) LIMITED
Phalaborwa, Limpopo , South Africa
T: +27 (0)15 780 2911
PO Box 65, 1 Copper Road, 1389
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