Perlite Expansion Plant

PAXAA provide full range perlite processing plant covering ore size reduction & classifying and perlite expansion plant to produce light weight open cell expanded perlite.

Perlite is a glassy volcanic rock with a pearl-like luster.  It usually exhibits numerous concentric cracks that cause it to resemble an onion skin.  A typical perlite sample is composed of 71 to 75 percent silicon dioxide, 12.5 to 18.0 percent alumina, 4 to 5 percent potassium oxide, 1 to 4 percent sodium and calcium oxides, and trace amounts of metal oxides.
Crude perlite ore is mined, crushed, dried in a rotary dryer, ground, screened, and shipped to expansion plants.  Horizontal rotary or vertical stationary expansion furnaces are used to expand the processed perlite ore. 
The normal size of crude perlite expanded for use in plaster aggregates ranges from plus 250 micrometers (µm) (60 mesh) to minus 1.4 millimeters (mm) (12 mesh).  Crude perlite expanded for use as a concrete aggregate ranges from 1 mm (plus 16 mesh) to 0.2 mm (plus 100 mesh). Ninety percent of the crude perlite ore expanded for horticultural uses is greater than 841  µm (20 mesh).

Process Description:
Crude perlite is mined using open-pit methods and then is moved to the plant site where it is stockpiled.  The first processing step is to reduce the diameter of the ore to approximately 1.6 centimeters in a primary jaw crusher.  The crude ore is then passed through a rotary dryer, which reduces the moisture content from between 4 and 10 percent to less than 1 percent. 

After drying, secondary grinding takes place in a closed-circuit system using screens, air classifiers, hammer mills, and rod mills.  Oversized material produced from the secondary circuit is returned to the primary crusher.  Large quantities of fines, produced throughout the processing stages, are removed by air classification at designated stages.  The desired size processed perlite ore is stored until it is shipped to an expansion plant.

At the expansion plants, the processed ore is either preheated or fed directly to the furnace. Preheating the material to approximately 430°C reduces the amount of fines produced in the expansion process, which increases usable output and controls the uniformity of product density.  In the furnace, the perlite ore reaches a temperature of 760 to 980°C, at which point it begins to soften to a plastic state where the entrapped combined water is released as steam.  This causes the hot perlite particles to expand 4 to 20 times their original size.  A suction fan draws the expanded particles out of the furnace and transports them pneumatically to a cyclone classifier system to be collected.  The air-suspended perlite particles are also cooled as they are transported to the collection equipment.  The cyclone classifier system collects the expanded perlite, removes the excessive fines, and discharges gases to a baghouse or wet scrubber for air pollution control.