The Story of Basalt
What is the Fuzzy Brown Stuff in the DeckProtect Frame?
It may not look like much, but it has a storied past, starting deep below the earth’s crust as molten magma. When magma rises to the surface as lava and then cools rapidly, it hardens into various different forms of volcanic rock.
Molten rock that cools slowly below the surface hardens and crystallizes with large crystals. Granite is an example. When it erupts in a Volcano, it cools quickly which results in smaller crystals. Basalt is fast-cooling volcanic rock. Basalt is the most common volcanic rock, but not all basalt is the same. Depending upon its origin, basalt has varied make up.
The best basalt for producing fiber has high silica content and low iron content. So how do we get fine filament from rock? The basalt is crushed, washed, then fed into a furnace. It has to reach a temperature of 1400 to 1600 degrees Celsius or about 2,500 to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Now here is the amazing part: The molten basalt is poured into hoppers, then pressed through bushings with many tiny openings to produce what is called “basalt continuous fiber” or BCF. The resulting filament or fiber has a diameter between 10 and 20 micrometers. A micrometer is one millionth of a meter. To give you and idea of how fine that is, human hair human hair. However 10 micrometers is above the respiratory limit of 5 micrometers. This makes basalt safe, and very different from asbestos.
Production of basalt fiber, unlike glass fiber does not involve the addition of any additives or chemicals... just the basalt rock. After the BCF is produced, it an be transformed into a number of different and valuable forms, all of which involve cold processes meaning that the production of basalt products is relatively environmentally friendly.
Basalt is known for its extreme resistance to heat and its insulating quality as well as its value in adding strength to various construction materials. For example, chopped basalt fiber can be added to cement to make it stronger.
The fiber can be spun into yarn or bundled into roving which is like yarn but not twisted. Then it can be woven on industrial looms into fabric. Basalt fabric is superior to fiberglass in a variety of ways and is less expensive than carbon fiber. And while carbon fiber has greater strength, it is very brittle. In a way basalt is stronger because it is much less brittle and less likely to crack or shatter.
The basalt tiles in DeckProtect™ are made by compressing the non-woven fiber into a semi-rigid board structure 3/8” thick using a heat-resistant binder. The two layers in multiple “tiles” are part of why DeckProtect™ has no equal when it comes to keeping your deck safe.