Man-Made Fiber Year Book 2018, October 2018
Basalt – technical fiber for civil applications
Amarjeet M. Daberao
SVKM’S NMIM’S, Maharashtra/India
These inherent characteristics of basalt fiber make it more suitable for use in civil applications such as building bridges, highways and residential housing, and in the construction industry etc. Basalt is well known as a rock found in virtually every country round the flora and fauna. Basalt rock is more prolific in India (especially in Maharashtra), and the basalt fiber is available at a cheaper cost as compared to other raw materials such as synthetic and high-performance fibers.
Basalt fiber is a textile innovation developed to be utilized in fiber-reinforced composites and structural applications. It has a similar chemical composition as glass fiber, but has better quality attributes, and is dissimilar to most glass filaments as it is impervious to basic, acidic and salt attack. This makes it a decent possibility for solid, civil framework and shoreline structures . Certain polymer-based composites use sisal fiber as a reinforced material, but these are not viable compare to basalt fiber [2, 3]. It is advantageous compared to aromatic polyamide fibers and high temperature resistant fibers like aramid and carbon to withstand at higher temperature for a wider temperature range of -269 °C to +650 °C as it possess higher oxidation resistance, higher radiation resistance, higher compression strength, and higher shear strength. The manufacturing of basalt and glass fibers is somewhat similar to its manufacturing cost, which is less compared to S-glass. It is a persistent fiber delivered through volcanic basalt shake dissolve drawing at around 1,500 °C. Basalt fiber is very much similar to carbon and fiber glass, and has better physico-mechanical properties and is cheaper. 1 kg of basalt reinforcement is equal to 9.6 kg of steel. There are many areas of application and the fiber can replace many costly and rare materials. Its manufacturing process is very simple and raw materials are found in virtually every country .
Thermal PropertiesA wide thermal temperature range between 260-982 °C, a high melting temperature of about 1,450 °C and the special low conductive nature of basalt fiber allow it to be used for firefighter protection, industrial and civil applications. The thermal behavior of basalt fiber is far superior to other high-performance fibers, having 3 times better thermal efficiency than asbestos fiber without the health issues. It comes under the non-combustible and non-exploding category of fibers.
Application of basalt fibers in civil engineering
Basalt-cement materialsTensile strength properties of basalt fibers are suitable for mixing in cement material. This basically enhances the performance of cement and increases the life of the construction. The coarse and chopped roving fibers that are consistently used for mixing may vary in proportion from 15:85. It has been advised to use Portland cement which increases inter cohesion properties of basalt fiber to improve tensile, flexural and impact properties. It was found that strength, fatigue and flexural properties of the Portland cement were increased 2 to 4 times compared to conventional cement .
Basalt fiber-reinforced concreteThe stability and strength of the concrete was increased with the composition of Portland cement, river sand, coarse basalt fibers, and 30 % water. This has properties like radio transparency and high damping. It is also found to be economical due to its low cost which has resulted in its application in manufacturing a large assortment of high-strength, fire-resistant structures .
Bricks made of basalt fiber
Geo-compositesGeo-composites consist of different types of geo-synthetics. As most of the individual components are thermoplastic they can be thermally laminated, but adhesive bonding and needle punching are also used. Examples include: geotextile-geo-net; geotextile-geogrid; geo-net-geomembrane; or what is termed a geo-synthetic clay liner (GCL). Advancement in the basalt fiber-reinforced polymer composites improved its potential for use for civil applications . There is almost no limit to the variety of geo-composites that are possible and the development of these materials results from the anticipated usefulness of their multi-functionalities and the opportunity for more rapid installation than by using the individual components.
The main geo-composite material types are: drainage geo-composites, reinforcement geo-composites and fluid barrier geo-composites. Control of water is critical to the stability of most geotechnical constructions and drainage geo-composites have become important materials for such a requirement.
Common configurations of drainage geo-composites are of a geo-net sandwiched between 2 nonwovens geotextile filters or a sandwiched thick or thin preformed core (panel drain, edge drain or wick drain). Blanket drains are commonly used as liquid collection – removal layers .
Reinforcement geo-composites are structures in which a spun-bonded or melt blown nonwovens are incorporated into a knitted geogrid by the stich-knit action of holding yarns or bonded by needle punching to one or both sides of a woven or knitted geogrid. The nonwovens add separation and filtration functions to the geo-grid reinforcement to give the multi-functionality of the geo-composite . Nanotechnology helps to improve the properties of reinforced fibers which is highly beneficial to civil and construction engineering .
Both woven and nonwoven geotextiles can serve as moisture barriers when impregnated with bituminous, rubber-bitumen, or polymeric mixtures. Such impregnation reduces both the cross-plane and in-plane flow capacity of the geotextiles to a minimum. However, for liquid containment applications what is referred to as a geosynthetic clay liner will be more effective .
Geosynthetic clay liners (GCLs) are geo-composites that are typically prefabricated with a sodium bentonite clay layer sandwiched between 2 geotextile layers; 2 needle-punched nonwovens layers or 1 needle-punched nonwoven and 1 woven layer. The process commonly involves attaching the top and bottom layers by stitching or needle-punching through the bentonite core which also gives the structure its internal shear resistance. When hydrated the bentonite core swells and becomes an effective barrier to liquid or gas.
Developed basalt fibers have composite properties permitting them as a replacement for asbestos, high strength glass, silica, chemical resistant glass and other special fibers in many civil and construction applications .
Basalt geo-mesh is advantageous than the glass and metals which can be used for pavement reinforcement. It is proved that basalt fiber is ecofriendly and does not have any adverse effect on the health of human beings, unlike asbestos, and can withstand higher temperature. The basalt geo-grids are lighter and chemically safer than metal. These are considered as one of the best alternatives to metal matrix composites and are used for soil stabilization, reinforcement in road construction and building construction.
ConstructionThe ideal use of basalt fiber in construction mainly encompassed reinforcement material for bridges, reinforced concrete as fiber bars, non-corrosive concrete columns, building constructions, soft roofing, reusable shutters, internal waste pipes, reinforced structures, heat-supply systems, cable conduits and hydraulic construction. Basalt fiber can also be found in road construction and the reinforcement of concrete and asphalt runways, as well as in the construction of sound-absorbing barriers for highways, railways etc.
Basalt-plastic pipesBasalt-plastic pipes can be used in shaft lining, land reclamation, agriculture (to carry gases and water), and also as a protection shield during geological or geophysical works. The wrapping which is impregnated with basalt fibers is used as plastic composite pipes for structural support. The equipment used for the manufacturing of glass-reinforced plastic tubes should be adequate for basalt-plastic composite pipes .
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