Diatomaceous earth (DE or diatomite) is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock (skeletal remains of single-celled aquatic plants called diatoms) that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. Depending on the granularity, this powder can have an abrasive feel and has a low density as a result of its high porosity.
Diatomite represents a very rare occurrence, a mineral silica that has an elaborate structure worked by nature into a labyrinth of tiny holes. No other silica source that is mined or chemically prepared has such a structure. The key to the exceptional properties of diatomite lies more in the microstructure, each diatom is peppered with thousands of holes, usually of three distinct sizes, ranging from a few microns in diameter down to submicron diameters. The number and sizes of these holes vary with the species.
The combination of the natural silica composition, the overall structure of the diatom particles, and the network of holes in the structure are responsible for the unique properties of these multifunctional mineral products.
One of the latest developments is EcoFlat™ 1880. It’s designed to matt low VOC decorative emulsion paints where, in addition to effective matting, its low oil absorption and high hardness give improved mechanical properties.