Basalt

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Basalt


Basalt is a common volcanic rock formed from the rapid cooling of basaltic lava. The percentage content of minerals in basalt stone is dependent of deposit location and affects the properties of basalt fibers such as tensile strength or resistance to chemical environment. The single minerals included in basalt stone are silicon dioxide, aluminum oxide, magnesium oxide, calcium oxide, phosphorus oxide, magnesium oxide, potassium oxide, titanium oxide, manganese oxide, chromic oxide. Especially content of silicon dioxide affects melting temperature of raw basalt stone, whereby with lower silicon dioxide content increases the melting point of basalt stone. 

Basalt fiber production

1. Preparation of crushed stone
- Chemical control of crushed stone;
- Water flushing of crushed stone;
- Visual control of crushed stone to separate stone of non-standard color and size;
- Charging of crushes stone onto furnace's conveyer;

2. Fiber production
- Charging of crushes stone into a furnace;
- Fusion of crushed stone in the furnace and getting of basalt  melt;
- Melt's homogenization and it's preparation to drawing;
- Melt's drawing through bushing;
- Sizing application;
- Winding of fiber on the cakes
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Technological process of continuous basalt fiber production is similar to the process of glass fiber production. Crushed rock is charged into the melting furnace by dozing charger. The melting furnace is bath-typ. Furnace heating is carried-out by air-gas mixture, which comes from common mixer through burner. Air-gas water supply consists of pipes, air output set, stop and control valves, burners crushed rock comes into melt under temperature 1460-1500°C in a furnace bath. Molten basalt flows from furnace through feeder channels and platinum bushing with 200 up to 1000 holes. The fibers are drawn from the melt under hydrostatic pressure. The melt is cooled by cooler and get harden to fiber. The process of getting fiber is pretty difficult due to high crystallization ability of basalt melt and narrow temperature range of production process. One of the most important indicators of technological process stability is reducing of monofilament breakage during the production. There gives two key factors affecting the monofilament breakage:

- working temperature at the bushing
- steadiness of temperature distribution at the bushing. 

In the next step after getting fibers a sizing is applied to the fibers surface, whereby the sizing components impart standard integrity, lubricity and resin compatibility.  After sizing is applied, the roving are gathered into a bundles so-called strands by means of a gathering shoe before approaching the take-up device. The attenuation rate and therefore the final diameter, is controlled by the take-up device (forming winder). The strand passes from the gathering shoe to a winder where it is wound onto a forming tube also called "forming cake". The dried cakes are ready for further processing such as assembling or twisting.
One of the crucial parameters of continuous fiber is its monofilament diameter. It’s reducing leads to increasing of the level of fiber elasticity and facilitates its textile processing in the future. Diameter of monofilament depends on working temperature at the bushing and pulling speed. All basalt fiber manufactures try to increase the hole’s number at their bushings this means appropriate increasing of monofilaments number in one-end roving, which is used to production of assembled roving’s and twisted yarns. 

Basalt fiber properties

Basalt Fiber Properties
Basalt fiber are similar to glass fibers regarding with specific weight of 2,6g/m3, however are characterized by 20% higher mechanical properties such as tensile and compressive strength, rigidity, E-Modulus and excellent resistance to chemical environment. Basalt fibers provide 10% higher absorption of electromagnetic radiation and absorption of forces. Additionally basalt fiber distinguish in excellent resistance to UV radiation, corrosion and organic effects.
A lower thermal expansion coefficient and higher operating temperature than by glass fibers allow usage of basalt fibers in innovative sandwich constructions with carbon fiber especially by manufacturing of heating molds. Under influence of high temperature arise no delaminations of single layers so that these sandwich-construction are more stably and durable.
Basalt fibers and basalt fiber products provide also very good opportunity for a significant reduction of the non-recyclable materials and allow to reduce the recycling costs. As a result of LCA-Assessment the basalt fibers show the significant better results as glass or carbon fibers.
National Directives on end-of life vehicles strongly recommend to car manufacturers to use end-of-life management principles during car development and production. To fulfill such recommendations, car manufactures have to look for new "green" materials which could help them to meet environmental requirements and to ensure maximum recycling when the vehicles reach end-of-life stage. 
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Applications


Among existing fibers basalt fiber with its dark color is the closest to carbon fiber by color. Much less expensive basalt is used as either a replacement for carbon and glass fibers or in combination with it. By using carbon and basalt together the cost of finished products can be reduced significantly without losing attractiveness of its appearance. Coating and concealing of basalt fiber fabrics allow to reach not only better fire protection performance and higher mechanical properties but also new design surface optic. New range of elastic knitted and hybrid knitted fabrics can be used as filtering materials. Additional high thermal resistance allows application of these fabrics in many places where other materials would be destroyed. Due to high E-Modulus and tensile strength of basalt fibers find basalt fiber fabrics applications by manufacturing of sport equipment e.g. snowboards , wind surfboards and tuning parts. High elasticity and high strength of composite materials made with basalt fibers allow to absorb forces better than carbon or glass fibers. 

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