gypsum

Gypsum

What is it? It is a very soft mineral composed of calcium sulfate dihydrate, with the chemical formula CaSO4ยท2H2O. It is the second softest mineral on the Mohs Hardness Scale. It is very soft and pliable.

Guess what they can make out of it?..... Drywall, sheetrock or plasterboard! All of these terms are common synonyms for gyp board. It is defined as "the generic name for a family of sheet products consisting of a noncombustible core primarily of gypsum with paper surfacing."

How do they make it? Natural gyp (not synthetic) is a mineral that is naturally occurring beneath the earth's surface. It is extracted by quarrying or mining. Most of the gypsum we get in the Northwest is mined or quarried in Mexico. Then it is shipped to facilities in Washington for production.

The natural gyp rock is crushed to a powder. The powder is heated to about 350 degrees (F) in a process called "calcining." The calcined gypsum is then used as the base for gyp plaster, gyp board, and other gyp products.

gypsum

Next the calcined gypsum is mixed with water and other additives to form a slurry. The slurry is fed between layers of paper on a special board machine.

The machine has a conveyor belt on it that moves the board. It is then baked removing most of the water and cuts it into different lengths.

Besides Drywall, What Are The
Other Uses Of Gypsum?

It is a soil sweetener and is very common in fertilizer products being sold. Some drywall recyclers will pulverize the scrap boards and seperate the gyp from the paper. Then sell it to farmers.

Consumer products frequently use gypsum as an additive. Products like shampoo, hair care products (conditioners), and creams (face, feet, body, etc.). So next time you are installing drywall and have some dust on your face, go ahead and add some water and rub it in!

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