Gypsum boards are everywhere: covering the inside of the majority of new houses as well as being utilized for finishing the interiors and sheathing the exteriors of non-residential structures all over the globe.
Gypsum board has advanced from a plain plaster lath to include materials that offer better sound depletion, greater impact, weatherproofing, and enhanced protection from mold and mildew, while still displaying the inherent fire-resistive property of gypsum.
The modern gypsum board producing sector is at the head of the ecologically conscious movement. The recycled matter from different industrial procedures constitute about one-third of the material required for the manufacturing of gypsum board. Likewise, the surface of paper-faced gypsum products is made entirely out of recycled paper.
Let’s first look into the basics of a Gypsum Board!
WHAT IS GYPSUM BOARD?
Manufacturers refer to a certain type of gypsum-core board material by the technical name ‘gypsum board’, which is usually fitted on the interior or exterior surfaces such as the ceilings and walls of a home or non-residential building.
The ASTM-C11 standard defines the item as “the generic name for a family of sheet products with a noncombustible core made mostly of gypsum with paper surfacing”. Gypsum board is also referred to as drywall and plasterboard in non-technical contexts.
VARIANTS OF GYPSUM BOARD
Due to its non-combustible core, gypsum board varies from items like plywood, hardboard, and fiberboard. However, the most prevalent kind is a gypsum wallboard which is commonly used as a wall and ceiling surface. Gypsum wallboard usually covers the walls and ceiling surfaces in a house.
The Gypsum Association members also produce gypsum sheet goods without a paper facing which are referred to as ‘gypsum panel products’. These goods are a family of sheet products which are made primarily of gypsum.” Glass mat-faced panels and panels without a facing having a gypsum core are some examples of gypsum panel products.
PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF GYPSUM BOARDS
Gypsum boards and panels are produced for use in a number of applications and performance scenarios, including plaster bases, lift and pipe shaft enclosure systems, ceramic tiles and marble backing materials, exterior building sheathings and ceiling and soffit enclosures.
The best material for wall, ceiling, and partition systems in residential, institutional, and commercial buildings is gypsum board. This is due to the reason that gypsum products offer ease, affordability, quality, adaptability, fire resistance, and sound absorption. In a broader spectrum, gypsum is also used as a base for orthopedic casts, as a soil amendment, and as an inactive additive to many food and cosmetic products.
MASS-PRODUCTION OF GYPSUM BOARD
Natural gypsum is a mineral that is obtained by mining or quarrying ore veins that are found close to the earth’s surface. Synthetic gypsum is predominantly a by-product of desulfurizing flue gases in fossil fuel-powered power plants. Gypsum is composed of the chemical compound calcium sulphate (CaSO4 • 2H20). In addition, both natural and synthetic gypsum share the same fundamental chemical make-up.
To begin the manufacturing process, natural gypsum rock or synthetic gypsum is first ground into a powder. This powder is then heated at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. This procedure helps to get rid of three fourths of the chemically combined water and is termed as ‘calcination’. The resultant calcinated gypsum or hemihydrate is then utilized as the foundation for gypsum plaster, gypsum boards, and other gypsum material.
Then onwards, the gypsum that has been calcinated is combined with water and other additives to create a slurry that is fed between continuous layers of paper on a board machine to manufacture gypsum board. As the face and back paper are chemically and mechanically attached to the gypsum core, the board’s paper edges are machine-wrapped.
Furthermore, this board recrystallizes or rehydrates as it passes along a conveyer line, returning to its original rock state. The board is then lengthened and sent through dryers to remove any remaining moisture.
After curing, the board is examined and cut to the desired length. The individual boards are arranged in pairs, face-to-face, to create a two-sheet “book.” The board is then ready for storage or delivery when the cut ends of the book are bundled together with end bundling tape.
HISTORICAL NARRATIVE OF GYPSUM BOARD
A product called “Sackett Board”, a precursor to modern gypsum board, is a composite material composed of four layers of wool felt paper sandwiched between thin plaster layers. Augustine Sackett, who is regarded as the father of the gypsum board manufacturing sector, filed a patent for Sackett Board in 1894.
However, gypsum had been employed as a construction material and an aspect of architectural detailing for thousands of years prior to 1894.
Gypsum blocks and plaster put on woven straw lath were employed by the Egyptians to create the Cheops pyramid around 3700 B.C., marking the earliest known usage of gypsum in architectural construction. Some of this construction is still intact and visible as proof of the gypsum’s strength and endurance, including walls with plaster murals made of colored plaster.
The French chemist Lavoisier analyzed the chemical make-up of gypsum in the late 1700s. His work, and research by a group of his fellow scientists along with the discovery and mining of large reserves of gypsum near Paris, resulted in the large-scale use of “Plaster of Paris” as a construction material. When raw gypsum is chemically modified by heat to remove most of the water present in the gypsum molecule and further hydrated to make “Plaster of Paris” which, to this day, remains are feasible material.
Now, the end of the story is common knowledge and it is evident that gypsum is revolutionizing the construction industry in considerable ways. From fire resistance, moisture resistance, and sound insulation, to sustainability and cost-effectiveness, gypsum has become one of the most sought-after construction materials in the market today.
This versatile mineral has contributed to the yield of numerous innovative building designs, ensuring that structures are not only robust and durable but also aesthetically pleasing and cost-efficient. Thus, gypsum proves to be a multifaceted and innovative material with innumerable benefits.
With the growing demand for sustainable and eco-friendly construction solutions, the service of gypsum-based products is anticipated to rise even more in the years to come. Moreover, advancements in technology and research are likely to direct further innovations in the use of gypsum, paving the way for more efficient construction techniques. In summary, the use of gypsum in construction brings immense advantages, and its impact on the industry is nothing short of revolutionary.