I J SRD - I nternational J ournal for Scientific Research & Development| Vol.

1, I ssue 3, 2013 | I SSN (online): 2321-0613


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729
Study on causes of cracking of Plaster of Paris boards & an effective
solution through Textile reinforcement for sustainable false ceilings

Ms. Laxmi Chaudhary Mehra
1
Prof. A. I. Thakkar
2
Prof. H. S. Patel
3

1
PG Student
2, 3
Head of Department
1, 2
Textile Technology Department
3
Applied Mechanics Department
1, 2, 3
L. D. College of Engineering, Ahmadabad

Abstract–Plaster of Paris is a quasi-brittle material with a
low capacity for deformation under tensile stress.
Mechanical loading, deleterious reactions, and environment
loading can result in the development of tensile stresses in
concrete. These tensile stresses all too frequently result in
cracking that can adversely affect the performance of POP
sheets. However, the potential for cracking can be
minimized by appropriate precautions in design, materials,
proportions, construction practices & with textile
reinforcement. These precautions will ensure that POP can
be used satisfactorily for an extended period of time without
any significant loss of aesthetics, service life, safety, and
serviceability. This Paper discusses causes of cracking that
can cause cracking in POP structures: namely false ceiling
sheets. It is intended for anyone interested in controlling
cracking for cost effective and long-lasting transportation
structures.
Keywords: Composites; Fibres; Gypsum; Plaster of Paris;
Mechanical properties
I. INTRODUCTION
“Plaster of Paris” or Gypsum powder is basically a
sedimentary rock, which settled through the evaporation of
sea water trapped in lagoons.
Plaster of Paris is a type of plaster which can be
used in art, architecture, fireproofing, and medical
applications. Plaster can also be used to make molds which
will be very dependable while withstanding high
temperatures.
Depending upon the technique, temperature, etc.
different types of Plaster of Paris can be produced. Three
forms of the Plaster of Paris are identified, namely a –Alpha
and b- Beta & Phospho-Gypsum (POP). a –Alpha Plaster
are the best quality & used in Medical applications where as
b- Beta plasters are used in high grade ceramic industries.
Alpha plaster has found superior strength [13]. The Building
boards generally used as partitioning, paneling, cladding and
false ceiling shall be made from industrial wastes such as
Phospho-Gypsum (Plaster of Paris). (Fig 1)

Fig. 1: Alpha, Beta Plaster and POP samples.
 False ceiling: An integral part of modern architecture
A false ceiling is also known as a dropped ceiling
or suspended ceiling [2]. These are secondary ceilings,
which are usually hung below the main ceiling. Because of
it lowest position on the ceiling, false ceiling can affect how
the light reflect in a room.

Fig. 2: False Ceilings
The False Ceilings serve a dual within an indoor space
 Aesthetics: - the colorful design, patterns and
concealing of electrical wiring
 Functional: - light reflectance, sound absorption,
thermal insulation, cut down our spends on air-
conditioning by a significant level & support to
fixtures.
Due to above purposes now a days it became an Integral part
of modern architecture as quick and inexpensive too. But as
each coin has two sides; POP false ceiling sheets have few
Problems.
II. POP FALSE CEILING PROBLEMS
Due to its availability in subsoil, a relative low cost, high
use easiness and mechanical characteristics suitable for
many employments, ultimately cost point of view plaster of
Paris is a widely used construction material for making false
ceilings. As each coin has two sides the existing problems
with POP false ceilings are as follows:
POP has; Low tensile strength, limited ductility and
 Poor resistance to cracking & damages easily
(Fig:3)
 Develops micro-cracks, after hardening & even
before loading
 Age: Less Durability, Stability
 Safety Concerns &
 Harmful effects (Environmental Implications) i.e.
Release of sulfur dioxide & CO2 emissions while
Gypsum production. (Fig:4)

Study on causes of cracking of Plaster of Paris boards & an effective solution through Textile reinforcement for sustainable false ceilings
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730

Fig. 3: Cracked false ceilings

Fig. 4: CO2 Emissions while POP Production
The current issues of concern are dust and CO
2
& SO
3

emissions. The dust emissions are kept to an extremely low
level by the use of dust collectors throughout the plant, but
CO2 emissions are much more difficult to control. CO2
production during gas combustion is difficult to avoid.
However plaster appears relatively heavy,
permeable (which forbids exterior applications) and too
brittle. Heaviness and brittleness may be appreciably
reduced by combining plaster of Paris with textile material.
III. CAUSES OF CRACKING IN POP BOARDS
It is important to understand why cracks develop in POP
sheets [16]. It is expected that cracks will develop in a
reinforced concrete member under service loads (the
expected loads during the lifetime of the structure) [10].
While some commonly think of external loading as being
responsible for generating the majority of the tensile stresses
in a material, much of the cracking in POP can be traced to
an intrinsic volumetric instability or the deleterious chemical
reactions.
The volume instability results in response to moisture,
chemical, and thermal effects.
In addition, various deleterious chemical reactions
involving the constituents of POP or embedded materials
can play significant roles causing localized internal
expansions.

Fig. 5: Drying Shrinkage cracks
IV. IMAJOR RESPONSIBLE FACTORS FOR
GENERATION OF CRACKS
Pressure: A.
Uneven pressure & pull of gravity on unsupported, brittle
plaster. Figure 7 explains the external loading & in
accordance to that pressure distribution in supported &
unsupported area. Installed sheets can be viewed in Figure
6.

Fig. 6: Installed POP false ceiling sheets

Fig. 7: External Loading & uneven Pressure
Temperature: B.
It expands during hot, humid summers & contract when
cool, at winters. And there are Sporadical temperature/ heat
changes in monsoon. This can lead to undue internal stress
in the ceiling materials (Fig 8).

Fig. 8: Thermal Transition through POP ceilings
Moisture: C.
Additionally Increase in moisture leads to strength loss.
Sulphate/ Chemical attacks detoriates its strength. D.
Age: E.
With age, due to differential stressed conditions &
volumetric changes due to combined effect of all above it
Study on causes of cracking of Plaster of Paris boards & an effective solution through Textile reinforcement for sustainable false ceilings
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731
loses grip, beginning small stress cracks in the ceiling below
& eventually give away. (Fig: 9)






Fig. 9: Compression & Tension in POP sheets [25]
Poor Workmanship / inferior technique of preparation. F.
POP sheets are manufactured by unorganized sector,
assurance of quality and specifications is always a question
mark.
Accidents & forces of nature G.
While cracks may develop in POP boards for a variety of
causes, the underlying principle is the relatively low tensile
strength of concrete. Visible cracking occurs when the
tensile stresses exceed the tensile strength of the material.
The volume instability results in response to
moisture, chemical, and thermal effects. In addition, various
deleterious chemical reactions involving the constituents of
concrete or embedded materials can play significant roles
causing localized internal expansions
V. PATTERN OF CRACKING IN POP BOARDS
There is no fix pattern & timings. Movement cracks may
begin near the center of ceiling due to the effects of
humidity and wander along the joist.

Fig. 10: Pattern of Cracking in POP sheets
Times of Appearance of these cracks are from 10 minutes to
upto 5 years.[20]
VI. TEXTILE REINFORCEMENT IN POP BOARDS
In general, a high-strength, high-modulus fiber, such as
glass, carbon, aramid and high density polyethylene
(HDPE—Dynima, Spectra), will usually increase the
strength and toughness of the cement composite, providing
strain-hardening behavior. In low-modulus fiber, such as
polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE), the
reinforcement enhances mainly the ductility of the cement
composite, but not its strength, resulting in a strain softening
or elastic–plastic behavior (Fig. 11).
Several researchers studied the influence of the
modulus elasticity of the fiber on the bond between the fiber
and the cement matrix [3,4]. It was reported that increasing
the modulus of elasticity of the fiber enhances the bond
strength. Low modulus fibers such PE and PP develop low
bond with the cement matrix, Whereas high modulus fibers
such aramid, carbon or HDPE provide strong bond with a
cement matrix. This is due to higher clamping stresses
which develop around the fibers due to matrix autogenous
shrinkage [3].

Fig. 11: Flexural response of POP composites reinforced
with low and high modulus yarns.
Also, in the low modulus yarns, there is a detrimental effect
on bond strength induced by Poisson effect [1]. Such
differences in bonding affect the mechanical behavior of the
cement composite.
Despite the hydrophobic characteristics of PP and
PE fibers and their poor bond with the cement matrix, these
fibers are considered as attractive for the reinforcement of
cement matrices, due to their high resistance to the alkaline
environment of the cement matrix (about 12.5 pH) and their
low cost.
In view of this, there is an interest to improve the
bond of the low-modulus fibers with the POP matrix, which
can lead to a strain-hardening behavior of the low modulus
fiber composites. Several studies were carried out
employing various methods to alter the surface of fibers by
changing the geometry of the fibers as well as treating the
fiber surface by physical and chemical means [5–8]. Also,
modifications of the cement matrix with PP fibers by
addition of polymers were studied to improve bond [9]. The
biggest improvement was achieved with fibers having
special geometry such as crimped, twisted, and fibrillated or
mesh form. These special geometries can provide
mechanical anchoring of the fiber to the cement matrix,
resulting in a strong bonding.
Specialist Glass Reinforcement: A.
Glass is the oldest high-performance fiber, one that has been
manufactured since the 1930s. Today's glass fibers can be
found in such end uses as insulation, fire-resistant fabrics,
and reinforcement for fiberglass composites . The E-glass is
the most common reinforcement material used in civil
structures[9].
Study on causes of cracking of Plaster of Paris boards & an effective solution through Textile reinforcement for sustainable false ceilings
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732
The versatility of glass as a fiber makes it unique industrial
textile material. Glass fiber in fabric form offers an excellent
combination of properties from high strength to fire
resistance. Wide ranges of yarn sizes and weave patterns
provide huge number of design potential allowing the end
user to choose the best combination for material
performance, economics and flexibility.
Dimensional Stability: 1)
glass fiber is a dimensionally stable engineering material.
Glass fiber does not stretch or shrink after exposure to
extremely high or low temperatures. The maximum
elongation for “E” glass at break is 4.8% with a 100%
elastic recovery when stressed close to its point of rupture.
Moisture Resistance: 2)
glass fibers do not absorb moisture or change physically or
chemically when exposed to water.
High Strength: 3)
the high strength-to-weight ratio of glass fiber makes it a
superior material in applications where high strength and
minimum weight are required. In textile form, this strength
can be unidirectional or bidirectional, allowing flexibility in
design and cost.
Fire Resistance: 4)
glass fiber is an inorganic material and will not burn or
support combustion. It retains approximately 25% of its
initial strength at 1000°F (540°C).
Chemical Resistance: 5)
most chemicals have little or no effect on glass fiber. The
inorganic glass textile fibers will not mildew, rot or
deteriorate. Glass fibers are affected by hydrofluoric, hot
phosphoric acids and strong alkaline substances.
Electrical Properties: 6)
glass fiber is an excellent material for electrical insulation.
The combination of properties such as low moisture
absorption, high strength, heat resistance and low dielectric
constant makes fiber glass fabrics ideal as a reinforcement
for printed circuit boards and insulating varnishes.
Thermal Conductivity: 7)
a low coefficient of thermal expansion combined with high
thermal conductivity properties makes glass fabric a
dimensionally stable material that rapidly dissipates heat as
compared to asbestos and organic fibers.
Polypropylene Fibre Reinforcement: B.
Polypropylene is an economical material that offers a
combination of outstanding physical, chemical, mechanical,
thermal and electrical properties, not found in any other
thermoplastic. Compared to low or high density
polyethylene, it has a lower impact strength, but superior
working temperature and tensile strength.
Words of Caution C.
POP mixing processes need to be carefully monitored so
that clumping of fibers is eliminated – a consistent mix is
important to ensure that there are no localized and unknown
weaknesses in the finished application.
VII. CONCLUSION
While cracks may develop in POP Boards for a variety of
causes, the underlying principle is the relatively low tensile
strength of concrete. Visible cracking occurs when the
tensile stresses exceed the tensile strength of the material.
Visible cracking is frequently a concern.
The geometry of a given textiles could enhance the
bonding and enable one to obtain strain hardening behavior
from low modulus yarn textiles, due to the special shape of
the yarn induced by the textiles.
 The Future
Given the advantages of different textile fiber reinforced
POP, its use is certain to increase. We can have ‘green POP’
starting to be used too. This uses natural cellulose fibers
produced from renewable pine, bamboo or banana trees.
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