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Advanced basalt fibre in high-tech applications

News International-French

19 Apr 2011

More and more sectors are becoming interested in basalt fibres. The range of applications is diversifying, and includes some high-value-added ones. Russian company Kamenny Vek is one of the players in that market. In this article, it reviews the characteristics of basalt fibre and the innovative applications in which it is used.

(Published on October 2008 – JEC Magazine #44)

 

1- BORIS MISLAVSKY, MARKETING AND STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT

2- OLEG KUZYAKIN, COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR,

3- TATIANA BRANTSEVA, R&D AND MARKETING, KAMENNY VEK

 

Basalt is an inert, naturally-occurring volcanic rock available worldwide. The first attempts to produce basalt filaments from the melt were made in the USA in 1923. During World War II and continuing into the 1950s, research in several countries advanced the science and technology of basalt fibre manufacture, but no commercial products were produced. In the past 30-40 years, most of the research and commercialization of basalt fibre products occurred in Russia and in the former Soviet Union republics.

 

 

The current technology for producing continuous basalt fibre is very similar to that used for E-glass manufacturing. The main difference is that E-glass is made from a complex batch of materials, whereas basalt fibre is made from melting basalt rock (Fig. 1) with no other additives. Basalt-based materials are environmentally friendly and non-hazardous.

 

 

Advantages and possible applications of advanced basalt fibre

Basalt fibre is used as a replacement for regular E-glass, highstrength glass and other specialty glass types, due to its specific properties:

  • 20-25% higher tensile strength than E-glass (Fig. 2a);
  • 10-15 % higher tensile modulus than E-glass (Fig. 2b);
  • better chemical resistance than regular E-glass;
  • extended temperature range up to 580°C;
  • environmental friendliness and easy recycling/disposal of basalt-fibre-reinforced plastics (BFRP) compared to GFRP.

 

As a result, basalt fibre ranks somewhere between E-glass and high-strength glass in terms of tensile strength, and about equal to high-strength glass or even slightly higher as regards tensile modulus. Its better environmental friendliness and recycling should definitely be taken into account.

 

Different types of rovings, chopped strands and twisted yarns are available. Various kinds of woven and non-woven materials, UD and multiaxial fabrics can also be supplied. All these products are compatible with different resin types, such as epoxy, phenolic, polyester and vinyl ester systems.

 

The fields of applications of basalt fibre products are extremely broad, depending on the specific properties of the fibre, including automotive, sporting goods, boat building, wind turbine blades, and civil engineering (Fig. 3).

 

In the automotive industry, high-quality basalt rovings, fabrics and chopped strands are used in the production of CNG cylinders, brake pads, mufflers, headliners and other parts for interior applications. The industry’s main requirements are high mechanical properties and easy fibre recycling.

 

Due to their high mechanical properties, basalt rovings are highly suitable for the production of different sporting goods, including skis, snowboards, and bicycles.

 

In wind-turbine-blade and boat-building applications, basalt rovings are used to produce woven, UD and multiaxial fabrics. Here, the high corrosion resistance and high mechanical properties of basalt play the main role.

 

More Information...
Kamenny Vek, located in Dubna, Russia, is a global leader for the production of high-quality basalt fibre and has been producing continuous basalt fibre since 2002.

The company is ISO 9001:2000 certified and manufactures basalt fibre using only state-ofthe- art equipment and technology. The company is committed to the secured supply of high-performance, high-quality basalt fibre and continually invests in technology, equipment, and intellectual resources to do so (photo).

 

In 2007, Kamenny Vek’s production capacity was 1,000 metric tons/year. In June 2008, the capacity increased significantly – up to 2,000 metric tons/year – and the company is expecting a further increase in the next year or so.

 

A wide range of products are also available for concrete reinforcement, including high-strength rovings for pultruded load-bearing parts and concrete-reinforcing bars, basalt woven fabrics for heat, sound insulation and fire protection, geogrids for road and land reinforcement, and stucco nets for wall reinforcing and renovation. High mechanical properties, corrosion resistance, extended temperature range and very good insulation properties are very important in this sector.

 

While a great variety of products are already available, new products and solutions are developed every year. For instance, in 2008 a new product, basalt needle-punched mat, was added to the existing range, and a new project is in progress to produce basalt UD tapes for wind turbine blades.