How is Basalt Fibre Made?
Basalt fibre is a natural mineral fibre. It is mainly available from Russia, the USA and India. The first attempts to make Basalt fabric were in 1923 in the USA. It wasn’t until WWII that the fabric was properly developed. It was used extensively in military and aerospace applications during this time. It has been used more frequently in everyday uses since 1995.
Basalt rock is a hard, dense volcanic rock that is found in most countries across the world. It is an igneous rock
Basalt Fibre Production
Basalt mineral is made up of plagioclase, pyroxene and olivine. To produce Basalt fibre, the rock is melted down at a temperature of about 1,400⁰c and then drawn through small nozzles into continuous filament fibres. These are then processed into yarns which can be of varying thicknesses. The end fabrics are made in a variety of weights, weave patterns and weave techniques depending on the end-use requirements.
Basalt fibre is one of the only mineral fibres that is made from a single material, basalt. It is carefully chosen from the quarries and before production has begun it is simply washed before it is melted down. The process of manufacturing Basalt is very similar to Glass fibres. One the fibres have been produced they can then be woven into fabrics. Usually at this stage silane based sizing should be added to the yarns to make them less inflexible. If this is not added the fibres can break and snap in the fabric and irritate the wearers skin.
Basalt fabric has gradually begun to replace glass fibres as they have a higher tensile strength, better chemical resistance and better fire protection. It is very similar to both Carbon fibre and fibre glass. Because of the properties it possesses, Basalt fibre is also a suitable replacement for Asbestos fabrics as it is much safer.
Properties of Basalt Fibre
- Resistant to electromagnetic radiation
- Absorbs sound
- Thermal Conductor
- Resists alkalis, Acids and Aggressive chemicals
- Excellent tensile strength
- Can resist temperatures up to 982⁰c
- No environmental risks
- Not Cacogenic like Asbestos
- High performance
- 3 times stronger than steel
- Naturally resistant to ultraviolet lighting
- Maintains its properties in cold temperatures
- Environmentally safe production process
- No toxic reaction with air or water
- Non combustion able
- Explosion proof
End uses of Basalt Fibre
- Fire Curtains
- Wall Laminate
- Fire-proof clothing
- Electromagnetic shields
- Aerospace and automotive industries
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