An economical and industrial consideration is that the process to produce chopped strand mat is simpler and cheaper than that needed to produce woven fabrics.
Therefore, basalt chopped strand mat reinforcements provide a cheaper alternative to basalt fabric reinforcements. The tensile strength loss compared with woven fabric-reinforced composites was about 48%, while for flexural strength was about 30%.
Composites also maintained structural integrity at elevated temperatures and dehydration effects were less destructive than in the pure geopolymer due to fiber bridging.
2-D woven fabric, as well as chopped strand mat basalt geopolymer composites could be used at elevated temperatures (300°C–900°C), using a less expensive reinforcement compared with other ceramic reinforcements such as NextelTM 610 (alumina fibers) and NextelTM 720 (mullite). Further extensive research is needed to investigate the increase in flexural strength at 600°C.
Daniel Ribero and Waltraud M. Kriven,
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois