Fibre Cement Technology
Fibre cement has been around for over 100 years but the technology to create better fibre cement building products has been improving since that time, especially in the wake of massive change in building regulations regarding the use of asbestos in recent times.
Fibre cement composites are composed of Portland cement, silica, water and wood pulp and are manufactured using the so-called “ Hatschek process”. This process was initially developed for the production of asbestos composites, but is now used for something that can actually be used as a viable asbestos replacement material: fibre reinforced cement composites, or fibre cement for short.
As part of the Hatscheck process, cellulose fibres are pulped in warm water then mixed with cement, silica, and other additives. The fibre cement mixture is transferred onto a conveyor belt, then a laminating roll. This process is repeated and multiple layers of fibre cement are laminated to the required thickness.
The laminated FC sheet is cured using an autoclave process which combines intense heat and pressure to enhance chemical reaction between cement and silica to form fibre cement composites, which are extremely tough building materials. This curing process results in fibre cement composites with superior properties compared to air-cured fibre cement composites, for example higher strength and toughness, low moisture movement, low alkalinity, high fire resistance and good workability.
Pigment can also be added to make fibre cement products of various colours.Fibre cement building products have many benefits over traditional materials such as wooden planks or gypsum or plywood boards.
Fibre cement boards and planks are highly durable, flexible, water resistant, fire proof, resistant to insects and chemical corrosion. They are also highly workable using normal tools; in short: they are useful in all kinds of buildings and throughout the whole house, from the cellar to the roof!
Typical applications of fibre cement building materials include use as substrates, internal/external cladding and use in wet areas where water resistance is required, as well as areas where weather and fire resistance is important.