What are plasterboards? (with pictures)

A drywall installer applies a finish coat to a drywall.

Gypsum board is a building material, consisting of large flat sheets of plaster sandwiched between two layers of paper. Gypsum boards are also known as drywall, wallboard, gypsum board or Sheetrock®. They are used to cover interior walls and ceilings and have gained popularity as they are faster, cheaper and easier to use than traditional alternatives.

Drywall, also known as drywall, is typically nailed to vertical wooden posts to create the interior walls of homes.

A mineral with the chemical composition CaSO 4 · 2H 2 O, gypsum comes from one of two sources. Natural gypsum is obtained by grinding extracted gypsum crystals. Synthetic gypsum is created as a by-product of power plants that burn coal or oil, through a process called flue gas desulphurization (FGD). Both synthetic and natural plaster are chemically bonded to water which must be removed before use. This is accomplished through a calcination process in which the gypsum is heated to around 176.7 Celsius (350° Fahrenheit).

Drywall panels are commonly used on interior walls in construction.

Calcined gypsum is mixed with water, paper or fiberglass fibers, and various chemical additives to create a gypsum. Wet plaster is fed between two rolls of paper to make sheets. The sheets are then dried in an oven and cut into panels. After drying, the plaster hardens and adheres to the sheets of paper, creating a solid and durable building material.

Gypsum panels were developed to reduce the time needed to finish the interior walls of a house. Prior to his invention, walls were finished by applying several layers of wet plaster, a complicated and time-consuming process. The first plaster panels were created in the late 19th century by Augustine Sackett. These sheets used felted wool rather than cellulose paper and were generally used as a base for plaster rather than as a wall finish. By 1930, plasterboard had more or less achieved its modern form, although refinements in materials and manufacturing process continued throughout the 20th century.

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In addition to ease of application, drywall panels offer additional benefits. Gypsum is naturally fire resistant and panels are usually treated with additional fire retardants. When heated by the fire, the water trapped in the plaster evaporates, lowering the temperature in adjacent rooms. Panels are also generally treated to resist mold and mildew.

The Gypsum Association, an industry trade group, points to several environmental benefits of using gypsum board. They claim that almost 100% of the paper used in manufacturing is recycled. The FGD process, by which synthetic gypsum is created from fossil fuel emissions, keeps sulfur out of the air and, by using it as a building material, prevents it from turning into solid waste. In the early part of the first decade of this century, the use of synthetic gypsum increased dramatically and now accounts for almost a third of the gypsum used.

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