As light as marble?
Technical solutions to lighten marble and natural stone
A mythological weight
The difficult relationship of mankind with the “weight” of natural stone is ancient and tiring, if even Greek mythology tells us the story of Sisyphus forced by Zeus, as a punishment, to push a very heavy boulder uphill, for eternity.
If we go into more concrete details, marble, granite and stone have a specific weight ranging from 25 to 30 kilos per cm thickness: it means that a slab of marble 100 wide and 200 long, with 2 cm thick weighs between 100 and 120 kilograms! It is easy to imagine how the “weight” can become a major problem when we have to, for example, place a marble sink on a glass shelf or a wooden shelf or install a marble bathtub in a yacht…
The heaviness of marble is not only a question of our days: architects and builders of all times have always tried to lighten the weight of marble and natural stone to solve not only the static problems of the artifacts but also to simplify the logistical difficulties related to transport and assembly. The columns that we see in many churches, for example, are often made internally with brick material, which the craftsmen then skillfully covered with marble or stone.
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In recent years, innovative techniques have been studied to create the so-called “lightened marble”. We are talking about specific solutions that can reduce the weight of marble by up to 65%! Basically, the procedure is as follows: the thickness of the marble slab is reduced to a minimum and it is coupled with support panels made of different materials. Technically advanced materials are used, which are able to make the marble lighter, maintaining the structure, allowing strong anchorages and protecting the fragility of an obviously reduced thickness. The most used panels are those made of aluminum honeycombs. The coupling technique is obtained in different ways: you can glue the panels on both sides of the marble slab and then cut the slab in half in order to obtain two lightened slabs, or you can glue directly the thin marble on the support using suitable resin glues and exerting the right pressure. You can also make real “boxes” entirely covered in marble, and empty inside so as to be light and manageable (if they were full would weigh several tons!).
Lightened marble can be used in any architectural context that requires a reduced weight of materials, both in the external facades of large buildings and in interior design, but it is also suitable for the nautical and aeronautical sectors.
Solutions for every need
Each stonemason has developed the technique that he considers most suitable to obtain the best result depending also on the equipment that he has available in his company. There is no such thing as a better solution than the others, but we can say that, depending on the work and the result to be obtained, there are better techniques, or rather, more suitable than others. For example, if you need to obtain a curved surface or if you need to backlight or even if you need to create ceilings or facades, for each of these possibilities there are solutions that can, or rather must, be taken into consideration more than others.
CMP Solmar finds the right “lightness” for you
It is not always easy to find the best solution for your needs. If you want to use lightened marble for your project, ask CMP SOLMAR for technical advice! Our technical department is able to help you find the most suitable solution and advise you on the most competent partner to create the best material for you.