Tripoli is a highly porous, lightweight material. Due to its soft, porous structure, it can easily be cut with a finger nail and crumbled into a fine powder between the fingertips. While tripoli may easily be crumbled into a powder, the ultimate individual grains (usually 0.01 millimeter or more refined) are so strong they will scratch steel.
Tripoli is exceptionally absorbent when it is dry. For example, a 4-inch square will absorb one-third of its water weight (complete saturation) in less than 5 minutes. This moisture will dry at ordinary room temperature and humidity in approximately three days.
Tripoli color is usually pure white, but certain portions can be stained by iron oxide to be cream, yellow, brown, or rose-colored.
It is limited to a small area in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in the southwest corner of Missouri and the northeast corner of Oklahoma, within a radius of fifteen miles of Seneca, Missouri, U.S.A., formerly the home of the Seneca Indians.
Nature has furnished the world with one of its most unique non-metallic minerals, and no other place on earth or on any continent has this material called "Seneca Standard" Tripoli been discovered.
Many non-metallic minerals with chemical analysis similar to "Seneca Standard" have been termed "Tripoli," although entirely different in physical particle structure.
"Seneca Standard" Tripoli is an unusual physical form of silica double-refracting and of the chalcedony variety. It varies from 90% to 98% SiO2, contains a fractional percentage of iron, alumina, etc., and has less than 1/2 of 1% free silica in the form of quartz.
Its outstanding characteristic is the physical structure of the individual particle. It is soft, porous, and has a fibrous structure, with no sharp edges or corners and an average size of fewer than .01 millimeters.
All of these account for its high oil adsorption. The specific gravity varies from 2.15 to 2.62. According to fineness, the porosity of the crude is 45%, and that of the powdered material is 63% to 68%. The absorption of water (by weight) for the crude is 35% and for the powdered form is 52%. Oil absorption by weight varies from 48% to 52%, depending on fineness.
Tripoli possesses the natural characteristic of friability, regardless of the size of the particle. The particles will break down or crumble into smaller particles as they are applied. Larger Tripoli particles will cut a surface when first applied, and as the particles break down into smaller sizes, they begin to polish or color the finished item.
It should be remembered that the larger the Tripoli particle size, the more aggressive the cut and the less polish or color will be in the finished result. The smaller the Tripoli particle size, the less cut and more polish or color will result.
It should also be remembered that cream tripoli is a softer material than rose tripoli. Rose Tripoli will always have more cut and less polish ability than Cream Tripoli. Both will produce the same result, but cream will always be less aggressive.
The item to be buffed or polished will dictate the Tripoli product to be applied. The more aggressive Once Ground Tripoli product will cut heavy metal items such as aluminum bumpers or wheels, where Tripoli R-15 would not even touch the surface. The Tripoli R-15 will provide a mirror finish for a thin brass picture frame with absolutely no cut to the surface.
The above Tripoli characteristics should always be considered before determining which product would provide the desired properties.
American Tripoli Abrasive Powder, (SiO2) U.S. EPA TSCA (SARA Title III) Status: Listed.
American Tripoli Abrasive Powder, (SiO2) Chemical Abstract Service Number: CAS# 1317-95-9.
For further information please call the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at +1.202.554.1404