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Learn All About Diatomites


Fossilized algae that has many uses.

What is Diatomite?

Diatomite is the naturally occurring fossilized remains of diatoms, and the mineral is found in thousands of products used every day. Its high permeability and porosity, small particle size, low density, and high surface area make diatomite a great material for a wide variety of uses. Diatomite improves crops, stabilizes explosives, absorbs hazardous materials, serves as a filler in plastics and paints, adds strength to construction materials, filters impurities, and lends abrasion to cleaning and polishing products.

The Diatomite Section is represented by the International Diatomite Producers Association (IDPA), a trade association representing major manufacturers of diatomaceous earth products worldwide. Founded in 1987, IDPA is committed to the safe use of diatomaceous earth products and to advancing research and maintaining a dialogue with industry, legislators, regulatory agencies, and the scientific community in support of the safety of employees, customers, and communities.

  • Diatomite is formed by tiny living organisms called diatoms, which are single-celled, aquatic beings with hard silica shells.
  • Diatomite can absorb up to 2.5 times its weight in water.

Where to Find Diatomites

Uses for Diatomites

Build/Absorb Diatomite is highly absorbent and is very useful in the clean-up of spills in the automotive, industrial, janitorial, and waste remediation industries.
Insulate/Clean/Fill In paints, diatomite alters glass and sheen, extends primary pigments, adds bulk and strength, controls permeability, and enhances coating adhesion. In plastics, diatomite serves as an anti-blocking agent, which helps in the separation of plastic parts in manufacturing, and in the separation of plastic bags by the consumer.
Feed/Combust/Filter The most important use relative of high-quality diatomite is as a filtering medium. The naturally occurring fossilized remains of diatoms have innate filtering characteristics due to their unique honeycomb structure. Their filtering qualities are used in beer and wine making, pharmaceutical manufacturing, motor oil processing, and to filter swimming pool water. For almost 100 years, diatomite has been the workhorse of food and beverage processing. Almost every shelf in the grocery store contains a product which has been filtered by diatomite.
Grow Soil Amendments: When diatomite is incorporated into soil, it serves to reduce compaction and increase water and air permeation. It also increases plant-available water, firms soggy soils, loosens hard-to-work soils, provides better drainage, aids in nutrient transfer, and improves root growth. In applications, such as golf courses and other landscaped areas, it helps absorb and hold water, reducing the amount of water used.

Natural Insecticide: When insects come in contact with diatomaceous earth, it absorbs their protective wax coating and their shells are damaged by the glassy diatoms. This combination causes them to die by dehydration. There is no survival and no built-up immunity as there is with chemical insecticides. Also, it does not break down as chemicals do.

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