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The physico-mechanical, chemical and mineralogical characteristics of volcanic glass (perlite) from the Mariovo region (Macedonia) as well as the mineralogical changes that occur during its thermal treatment were investigated to demonstrate its utilization for industrial use. The native perlite was characterized by chemical analysis, X-ray powder diffraction (XRPD), infrared (IR) spectroscopy, thermal analysis (TGA/DTA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDX), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and solid- state NMR. The chemical examination suggests that the perlite represents an acidic volcanic rock with a high percentage of SiO2 (72.45%), high in alkali metal oxides (4.21 wt.% K2O, 3.56 wt.% Na2O), with a loss of ignition 3.54 wt.%. Results from the XRPD indicated major amorphous behaviour, with low amounts of feldspars, quartz, and cristobalite. SEM examinations revealed glassy structure with presence of certain pores (dimensions ranging from 50–100 μm). The determined expansion coefficient was 20 times its original volume. XRPD of expanded perlite compared to the native perlite depicted new intensive peaks of cristobalite. SEM and TEM revealed irregular morphology with broken or ragged edges. On the basis of the chemical and mineralogical composition, the studied perlite is classified as an appropriate material suitable as ceramic flux to lower the sintering temperature.
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