21 Jun The Uses of Plaster
There are many different uses for plaster. The material is created by grinding one of a few different types of stones, such as gypsum, into a powder. Once it’s ground, the stone can be mixed with water to form a paste that will harden when it’s left exposed to the air. Use of this material can be found in a multitude of different industries, including construction, medicine, and art.
In construction, one of the most common uses for plaster is as drywall. This is composed primarily of gypsum plaster. Plaster can be used on the inside of houses and other buildings to create an interior wall surface. Though it forms a hard surface that is appropriate for interior walls and is ideal for sound-proofing, this type of plaster can be easily damaged and does not hold up well when exposed to outside elements.
Another common use for plaster in construction is as a decorative trim. When it is dry, this material is relatively hard. This allows it to hold up over time, although the material soft enough that it can be shaped or carved with the use of tools. As a trim, a variety of different shapes or designs can be carved into plaster which easily add to the aesthetic quality of a building. Stucco, which is sprayed onto the outside of a building to give it texture, can also be made from plaster. It’s possible that certain types of stucco release small amounts of water when heated, allowing it to slow the spread of fire.
Artists also commonly make great use of plaster. A statue or relief can be carved out of a block of this semi-hard material, or it can be poured into molds and allowed to harden into any shape of the artist’s choosing. In some cases, artists use this material as a part of the process of creating a mold that will later be used to cast metals, such as bronze. The great part is that plaster is a relatively inexpensive material to use for this type of project.
Plaster is also very often used in the medical industry. Casts that protect broken bones while they are healing have been made from plaster for hundreds of years, although fiberglass casts are more common today. It is also possible to use a special form of plaster that is made with barium to help protect people from the radiation given off by x-ray machines.
Next time you’re working a construction project with plaster, consider the many other people around the world who are also using the material – and in a variety of different ways!