Saturday, 5 September 2009

Diatomite

The next stop on our trip around the Trotternish peninsula of Skye was the Diatomite works at Inver Tote. Diatomite (known locally as Cailc) was discovered at Loch Cuithir in 1886. By 1889 the Skye Diatomite Company was extracting Diatomite from the loch and transporting it via railway to drying sheds at Inver Tote. The remains of the sheds can still be seen today although the railway has long since gone.
For those of you who, like me, have never heard of Diatomite before, I'm told that it is a whitish clay like deposit of microscopic shells. It has a number of industrial uses but it is probably best known as the additive used to make nitroglycerin stable giving rise to the patented product -- dynamite. If you want more details then the Wikipedia page is quite informative.
7 October 2010 at 06:28 , Archie said...

Diatomite has also found value as an insulating material in high-temperature mechanisms like furnaces and boilers. It has also proven effective as a sound insulator.

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