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Building Materials


Adhesives are natural or synthetic bindes used for surface coatings. High load bearing ad-
hesives have been developed for engineering applications. Structural adhesives are based
on specially cured rubber-toughened epoxies, acrylics and silanes.The advantages of adhe-
sives over rivets and bolts are that they distribute the stress over a larger area of the joint.
This reduces galvanic action between two disimilar joints and is able to bind extremely thin
sheets.Disadvantages are they loose stability at high temperatures and take a lot of time to

Adhesives should have high tensile strength. They should have more cohesive strength than
either of the surfaces being held together. To hold two surfaces together they should form a
strong bond at each of the interfaces between the surface and the adhesive.When liquids are
stirred, they become temporarily more fluid because of alignment of their tiny crystals. The
fluid thickens as soon as stirring is stopped. This property, called thixotropy of adhesives and
paints helps to prevent a sag or run when these coatings are applied on vertical surfaces.
Since viscosity decreases with increase in temperature, an adhesive should be applied while
hot.Adhesive must wet the surface thoroughly as it spreads. It must be able to flow into the
surface crevices displacing dirt, moisture, and trapped air.

Types: Organic solvent thinned Adhesives, Latex Adhesives(natural or synthetic rubber or vinyl
copolymers), Water-dispersed Adhesives(depend on natural materials for bonding), Two pack-
age Adhesives(adhesive solvent is not required)

The purpose of thermal insulation is to restrict the heat transfer from warmer to cooler areas.
The commonly used heat insulating materials work on principle of either air spaces formed
between structural components, surface insulation or internal insulation.

Well known products are aerated concrete, gypsum boards, fibre boards, asbestos cement
boards, chip boards, cork boards, foam plastic, aluminium foil, reflecting paints, expanded blast
furnance slag, vermiculite, fibre glass, glass wool, etc. Cavity wall, though costly, provides good

Heat insulating material should be impermeable to water, fire proof, resists insect attacks, have
low thermal conductivity (0.0228 kCalscm/m2C). Since a g ood heat insulating material has
porous structure the strength is lowered affecting its stability.

A well designed building should incorporate sound insulation to restrain noise level. High noise
conditions results in uncomfortable living conditions, mental strain, fatigue and may even lead
to nervous break down or temporary deafness. Adequate insulation can be achieved by using
sound absorbing or sound repellent materials.

The commonly used sound insulating materials are cellular concrete, asbestos, rock wool,
glass wool, glass silk, mineral wool boards, cane fibre and porous tiles. Acoustic plastics such
as gypsum plaster is very effective in sound insulation.

A good sound insulator should have low density, porous texture, resistance to moisture and
pleasing look. It should be incombustible, light in weight and easy to handle and fix, resistant
to attacks of vermins, insects, termite and dry hot.

Geosynthetics are made of polypropylene, nylon, PVC and other synthetic materials. These are
being used for a variety of innovating usage in civil engineering construction works. Some of
the popular usages are for reinforcement, separation, drainage, filtration and moisture barrier,
seepage control, foundations and pavements.

The success and increasing popularity of geosynthetics application in civil engineering works
are due a to a number of advantages, like:

1.They can be good replacement for scarce and costly conventional construction materials like cement
and steel for several types of applications.
2. They may be useful, perhaps the only alternative, at poor site conditions.
3. They can be used and installed rapidly.
4. Compared to other reinforcing materials (e.g. steel) they are better resistant to atmospheric weath-
ering action.
5. They are useful in environment protection works.

Geosynthetics are classified as Geotextiles, Geogrids, Geomembranes and Geocomposites.

Geotextiles are any permeable textile material used with foundation, soil, rock, earth or any
geotechnical engineering related material, as an integral part of man-made project, structure
or system. These are generally synthetic polymeric materials and consist of either woven or
nonwoven fabrics and used for separation, drainage, filtration and reinforcement.

Geogrids are relatively stiff materials with large apertures of sufficient size (10 to 50 mm) to
allow interlocking with surrounding soil, rock, earth or any other geotechnical material.Because
of the large openings, they cannot be used in filtration and as moisture barriers but are quite
useful for the purpose of separation and reinforcement. They can be used in road pavements,
improvement of bearing capacity.

Geomembranes are a continuous membrane type linen and barrier composed of asphaltic,
polymeric or a combination There of materials with sufficiently low permeability so as to control
fluid migration in a geotechnical engineering-related man made project, structure or system.

Geocomposites consist of combinations of geotexites, geogrids, geomembranes and/or other

materials which are incorporated to provide optimal performance in a particular situation.

Gypsum is a non-hydraulic binder occurring naturally as a soft crystalline rock or sand. Pure
gypsum is a white translucent crystalline mineral and is so soft that it can be scratched by a
finger nail.

When heated to 205C, pure gypsum loses its luster and its spe cific gravity is increased from 2.3
to 2.95 due to the loss of water of crystallization. Gypsum has a unique property of moulding.
When heated it gives up combined water and easily turns into powder. On adding water to the
powder it can easily be shaped and moulded, and in a short time it hardens again and becomes
similar to what it was in its natural state. When water is added the gypsum forms interlocking
crystals. As the gypsum hardens it is this crystallisation that makes it such an effective fire
resisting material.

Gypsum items have a number of valuable properties like relatively small bulk density, incom-
bustibility, good sound absorbing capacity, good fire resistance, rapid drying and hardening with
negligible shrinkage, superior surface finish, resistance to insects and rodents and low energy
input during burning to produce gypsum plaster. The major shortcomings are its poor strength
in wet state and high creep under load.

Gypsum plaster, e.g., Plaster of Paris,wall plaster stucco, and hard finish plaster are extensively
used in wall construction. Flooring plaster, made by calcining gypsum at a high temperature.

It is produced by incompletely dehydrating pure finely ground gypsum at a temperature some

what lower than 185C. The setting of plaster of paris is attr ibuted to the formation of gypsum
crystals from a supersaturated aqueous solution.

When substances of colloidal nature (for example glue) are mixed with the plaster the formation
of crystals is hindered and the time of set retarded. In hardening, Plaster of Paris first shrinks
then expands. The latter property makes the material suitable for making casts, since a sharp
impression of the mould can be secured. For the same reason it forms an excellent mate-
rial for filling cracks, holes in the plastered surfaces and also on the wooden surfaces before

Owing to the rapidity of set and difficulty in working, its use in structures is limited to ornamental
works. Being unstable in water it should be used for indoor works only.

Its properties are 1. White in colour 2. Setting time is 5 to 10 minutes 3. Specific gravity is 2.57.

Gypsum wall plasters gain one-half of their one-month strength in a day. Plaster and sand
mortars of 1:1 proportions may be expected to develop 80 per cent of the neat strength at
corresponding ages, while those of 1:2 proportion generally possess one-half to two-third of
the neat strength. The gypsum to sand neat plaster in proportion of 1:3 should set in 2 to 32
hours and in 1.5 to 8 hours when mixed with wood fibres. The dry set density of gypsum wall
plaster is 8501040 kg/m3, and compressive strength of 1:2 gypsum wall plaster is 6 to 15

Gypsum Plaster Board is a gypsum product of recent origin made of thin layers of card board
or wood cemented together with wall plaster, used for lining walls and ceiling of buildings. The
boards may be strengthened by incorporating fibres as fibrous gypsum plaster boards. Sissal
or coconut fibres are generally used. The weight of plaster in the later variety is 10 kg/m2 of
board and that of fibre is 250 g/m2 of board. They are very light weight and have high fire
resisting properties. Gypsum plaster boards can be sawn to desired size and shape. They are
available in widths 400, 600, 800, 900, 1200 mm; in length 1200, 1500, 1800, to 3600 mm in
steps of 100 mm and; in thickness 9.5 to 15 mm.