Energy efficiency in the construction industry is more important than ever due to load-shedding and the rising cost of electricity. Pratliperl® from Pratley is a ‘green’ building material that can assist the construction industry to meet sustainability criteria such as SANS 204. The thermal insulation of a two-leaf (220 mm) brick wall can be doubled, for example, by simply plastering the inside and outside with Pratliperl®.
Pratliperl® is derived from a volcanic glass called Perlite. The raw material is then expanded in special furnaces to create millions of small, well-sealed Pratliperl® beads. Each bead has a small vacuum inside, giving the product its unique thermal insulation properties. Pratliperl® is also ultra-lightweight, which reduces the cost of high-rise structures. In addition, the product is highly durable and features good acoustic properties. It can even be gunited when applied to large surfaces.
Applications range from underfloor insulation and insulated roof decks to lightweight screeds on corrugated iron or concrete roofs, fireproofing structural steel columns, insulating cryogenic tanks, loose-fill thermal insulation in wall cavities and lightweight tile adhesive filler. “Pratliperl® is a thermally-insulating and fireproof aggregate for plaster screed and concrete,” explains Pratley Marketing Director Eldon Kruger.
Specified for lightweight plaster and screeds, Pratliperl® has been pretreated to enable it to mix with ordinary cement. It is also resistant to spalling under fire conditions, which improves the integrity of structures and enhances health and safety. The product can withstand temperatures of up to about 1 250°C without comprising its structural integrity.
Once cured, Pratliperl® has superior strength compared to conventional lightweight concrete. Compatible with cement and other binders, it can be used to produce ultra-lightweight panels, boards, bricks, and blocks that can be cut, nailed and drilled.