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Continuous basalt fibres are a novel product on the reinforcing fibre market. Although information about basalt fibre has been available, it is not yet a well-known product.
(Published on May 2005 – JEC Magazine #17)
Basalt fibre technology originated in the Soviet Union. At present, there is only one company that is seriously developing continuous basalt fibres for reinforcement, and that is Kamenny Vek (Russia). Because they have noticeably higher strength and elastic modulus than other existing basalt fibres, Kamenny Vek products are called “advanced”. The technology for producing basalt fibre is similar to glass fibre technology, although basalt fibres have a unique combination of high mechanical properties with high heat and corrosion resistance. These properties, coupled with lower prices, allow basalt fibres to compete successfully with special glass-fibre grades like S-glass.
Significant benefits for boatbuilders
What benefits could boatbuilders gain from using advanced basalt fibres? The most important ones are the strength and elastic moduli, which substantially outperform E-glass fibre and are close to S-glass fibre. So, using basalt fibres as a replacement for expensive high-strength glass or carbon fibre significantly cuts down on cost. When used to replace conventional E-glass fibre in load-bearing structures, basalt fibres allow for either higher strength or reduced weight.
Besides the higher mechanical properties, boatbuilders also gain higher resistance to seawater, higher heat and sound insulation properties, and environmental friendliness. Basalt fibres have good processability into various non-woven multiaxial and combined fabrics. The low price of nonwoven basalt fabrics (close to that of E-glass fabrics) allows reducing the weight of boats for about the same cost as E-glass materials. Kamenny Vek works with world-renowned producers of multiaxial fabrics to meet the requirements of boatbuilders. It currently offers various kinds of UD tapes and multiaxial fabrics that are suitable for closed moulding technologies like RTM and vacuum infusion.