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Diatomaceous earth (D.E.) more commonly known as diatomite, kieselgur/kieselguhr or celite, is a naturally occurring, soft and frangible siliceous sedimentary rock. Diatomaceous earth mainly consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae, with other impurities such as metals (usually iron and calcium) and minute traces of organic matter.
Heating diatomite between 800-1000 °C in a kiln will cause it to turn orange-red, due to iron content.
Diatomite is a whiteish light solid, with an abrasive feel, and highly porous. It also displays cleavage, similar to mica. Kieselgur is very light, with a density of 2.3 g/cm3 (bulk) and 0.256 g/cm3 (powder).
Diatomaceous earth is available as powdered form in many garden shops as insect killer. It can also be purchased online.
- Water filtration
- Adsorbing agent
- Thermal insulator
- Make dynamite
- Catalyst support
Powdered diatomaceous earth is irritant to lungs and long-term exposure may cause silicosis.
Diatomite should be stored in closed bottles.
No special disposal is required, though it's best to avoid scattering it in air.