Silica fume for efficient and sustainable fibre cement products
Silica fume for fibre cement
The role of microsilica in fibre cement
Microsilica is commonly used in the production of fibre cement. Elkem Microsilica® acts as an interactive filler and a highly reactive pozzolanic ingredient in fibre cement recipes.
In the wet recipe, the addition of Elkem Microsilica® improves the dispersion of cement grains and fibres, boosting their efficiency and at the same time surrounding individual particles with an improved matrix. Once cement hydration reaction starts, Elkem Microsilica® interacts with the free lime released to create additional high strength binder that locks the added fibres in place and protects them, thus improving the overall durability of the final product. Fibre cement products containing Elkem microsilica exhibit improved overall durability, particularly with regard to permeability, strength, chemical and impact resistance.
Innovation, flexibility and sustainability
Elkem Microsilica®, the original and market-leading silica fume product, was introduced in the early 1980s and has constantly been improved and diversified to produce new and innovative products for a sustainable fibre cement industry.
Elkem works collaboratively with customers to determine their evolving needs, driving our R&D together with them and working with experts in leading academic and research institutes to find solutions for more efficient and sustainable fibre cement production. This collaborative approach enables us to constantly innovate and meet new operational needs, while complying with changing regulatory requirements.
Elkem continues to move toward more renewable energies that generate less carbon. Elkem has committed more widely to sustainability with an ongoing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policy that is regularly reviewed, updated and implemented.
A safe and efficient additive for asbestos-free fibre cement
In the late 19th Century, an Austrian scientist, Ludwig Hatschek, had the ingenious idea of creating a mix of 90% cement and 10% asbestos fibres that was then run through a paper-making machine to create a revolutionary new building material, fibre cement.
Unfortunately, it became apparent in the middle of the 20th Century that the asbestos fibres used in these materials were dangerous if inhaled. It attacks the lungs, causing illness and sometimes death.
For many years, researchers looked for viable alternatives to asbestos fibres. In the 1980s, Elkem developed an additive based on silica fume, which enabled the safe production of fibre cement using the high strength Elkem Microsilica® binder.
To learn more about Microsilica® Fibre cement watch our video:
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