Freestone Millworks, LLC™ (FSMW) is the sole exclusive provider of a novel type of ceramic, reinforcing aggregate for use in engineered materials. It is one of the most unique technologies developed in recent years for use in the construction/building/home furnishing industry. Products using FSMW ceramic reinforcements are based on common, well known, proven basic components:
◊Portland cement (or other similar common hydraulic cement binders)
◊Manufactured and natural sands/fillers/aggregates
◊Ceramics/fired vitreous clay
Note: Optional components may include pigments, polymer additives, processing aids, glass/polymer/basalt fibers, pozzolans and other admixtures often used in cast concrete products to improve visual appearance, durability and the casting/molding processing
However, while this formulation is typical to many basic concrete materials, it is the ceramic/vitreous clay, specifically in the form of reinforcing particulates, that give products made with FSMW aggregates an unprecedented level of strength, processing ability and cost effectiveness. But, unlike typical molded ceramic products (dishware, roofing/floor tiles, flower pots, etc.) made from porcelain, earthenware or other clays, the ceramics used in FSMW products are deployed in a uniformly dispersed, but highly concentrated array of discrete reinforcements that serve to dramatically strengthen the cement binder. The nature of this product design is that the FSMW materials can be readily formed into varied, complex shapes in low cost molds and quickly cured (the same as typical concrete). A further benefit from the use of ceramic reinforcements is that products are less susceptible than porcelain or cast concrete to cracking and fracture either during molding and initial cure or in actual use. The ceramic particulates provide for three dimensional reinforcement and negate typical shrinkage cracking or crack propagation experienced with both ceramics and concrete during the "setting" process. However, the greatest benefit is the improved fracture mechanics under actual use and abuse.
When initially formed the base FSMW article resembles typical cast concrete or stone blocks and slabs. However, with a minimal amount of added effort the products can be brushed, washed, abraded, ground, sculptured, chiseled, honed and polished into most any shape or finish while replicating the appearance of most any common stone material (granite, marble, slate, sandstone, soapstone, etc.). The ability to use common concrete additives, pigments, stains and sealers further expands the ability to duplicate a wide variety of hues, textures, patterns and finishes and enhance service life/serviceability.
Freestone Millworks, LLC™ materials resist breakage, cracking/crazing, chemical attack, wear, weathering and other conditions of normal use and abuse. Specifically, the use of ceramic particulate reinforcements at high levels (50% or more of the product's composition) insures both high strength (bending, tension, compression, impact, etc. comparable or better than concrete, granite or marble) and toughness (scratch/abrasion/chip/dent resistance similar to porcelain enamel, granite or engineered quartz composites). Most typical fiber reinforced concrete products, on the other hand, are limited to less than 1% fiber reinforcement in the premixed form and maybe only 5% maximum fiber content if complex, costly spray-up techniques are used.
Most significantly, the use of this unique blend of the ceramics along with other fillers/aggregates provides a material that is more easily finished (ground and polished) than conventional materials (cast concrete, filled acrylic polymers, stone, glass, ceramics, metals, etc.). These attributes allow FSMW materials to be used in a variety of designs and applications to create visually stunning products that are extremely durable but also easy to manufacture, finish and maintain, thus offering the user the opportunity for significant value over other material choices.
Additionally, FSMW ceramic aggregates can be applied to just the outer layers of various concrete objects as a decorative aggregate. While the strength improvements are not as great, compared to mixing of the FSMW ceramic particulates into the batch at high levels, the final casting will still benefit from improved surfaces properties. Items will have a harder, more durable surface and potentially, depending on the depth of impregnation of the aggregates, will have added crack resistance.
Based on standard test protocols, FSMW materials provide high strength in compression, bending/flexure, tensile, shear and impact compared to competitive products as follows:
◊Conventional concrete: FSMW is 3-5 times or more higher strength
◊High strength concrete: FSMW is 2-3 times stronger
◊Premixed fiber reinforced concrete: FSMW is 1.5-2 times stronger
◊Spray-up fiber reinforced cement: FSMW has comparable strength to spray-up GFRC when
FSMW is produced in a 2 dimensional, planar form similar to spray-up GFRC (but FSMW,
unlike spray-up GFRC, is able to be cast in thick sections with uniformly strong properties in
all dimensions that are up to 80% of the strength of planar spray-up GFRC)
◊Granite: FSMW has the same strength as premium granite but is stronger than typical,
standard grades of granite plus comparable or better scratch/impact/stain resistance
◊Marble: FSMW is 3-5 times stronger and much harder and more durable
◊Simulated granite (granite/quartz fillers with polymer matrices): FSMW is comparable in
compression and wear/scratch resistance, but more durable to heat/UV/weathering/solvents
In addition while the scratch, dent and impact resistance of the FSMW products exceeds many of the conventional surfacing materials, it can also be easily repaired. Unlike granite, concrete, high pressure laminates, filled plastic resins, glazed porcelain ceramic, etc., FSMW materials can be patched, ground and polish to restore the original condition. By using a small amount of epoxy, cement paste or other readily available patching compound (typically with colorants, fillers, polymer binders, etc.) deep fractures and even broken pieces can be repaired. When followed with abrasive media polishing (preferably silicon carbide or diamond pads, grinding stones, buffing wheels, etc.) the original color, patterns and luster/sheen can be restored. Various commercially available sealers (acrylics, urethanes, epoxies, waxes, etc.) can also be used to enhance the beauty and provide an added layer of protection.
The baseline blend of FSMW raw materials produces a natural, visually appealing product with consistent but subtly varied color and patterns throughout each article. And the ability to easily vary formulations, shapes and finishes allow customization to meet specific preferences. FSMW technology allows for novel product designs and new, innovative applications beyond typical concrete, granite, stone or polymer-based products. The opportunities are only limited by one's imagination.
Freestone Millworks, LLC™ is aggressively scaling up production of this revolutionary, new, advanced reinforcing ceramic aggregate. In addition to providing these materials to manufacturer's, contractors and home owners for use in customer mixed concrete batches, FSMW has perfected the composite technology and is now able to provide various cement based articles to meet most any basic customer design goal. The research to develop this new product has covered a period of decades with the technology now having been thoroughly proven and verified over the last 10 years. Also, given that this new material technology is based on the same basic components used in brick and mortar construction (fired clay and hydraulic cement), Freestone Millworks, LLC™ has confidence the product will meet customer needs and last for decades with proper care and handling.