Fireproofing Resource Library

That Wonderful Volcanic Popcorn

VOLCANIC LAVA from the wastelands, of western America is being popped like popcorn to produce a material that can slash construction costs, cut heating bills and increase fire protection. In some forms, the volcanic popcorn promises to increase the storage space in your refrigerator, help place cheaper meat and fruit on your table and perform hundreds of industrial tasks. It even provides Hollywood movie makers with realistic dandruff for actors.

This new pearl-gray material is called perlite in both its raw and processed forms. It is n glassy volcanic lava known to man for thousands of years, but it took a metallurgist working in a little Arizona town to discover its unusual properties.

Since the beginning of time, the lava flows in our western lands have existed in the badlands, in the mountains and the desert. The badlands are like a close-up view of the moon, forbidding and lonely. Men in their search for minerals passed them by.

Perlite itself is so razor-edged it will cut a hiker’s boots to ribbons. It is too brittle and sharp for roadbeds. It is no wonder’ that the rattlesnake and the Gila monster had the perlite barrens to themselves.