A request was put to Deakin University to do 4 x test pieces for our footing piers. These weren't formal test but experimental to see how different processes in filament winding affects the strength of a pier.
We were not really expecting any of these piers to achieve the loading we need which is around 75kN. This test was more to see how they fail under a compression test and get an idea of what strengths they have for future planning.
The results are quite interesting and potentially something that we welcome...
The basalt fibre pier is best performing by quite a bit. We dont know exactly why as there were 2 things different with this test piece:
More resin - the basalt fibre drew a lot more resin from the reservoir and became more resin rich. However we feel that this is not the main factor.
Filament Placing was different as with the Basalt Fibre we used 6 roving (rather than 12 for Carbon Fibre) which mean the 'pattern' is different. The result was a more localized 'crossing' pattern (like fishnet) which means that there is greater strength in these areas which potentially is why the pier had better strength overall.
What is even better with this outcome is that the pier in its current form reached our target. Plus this is the material which is better for the environment which is something we were looking to achieve next year. So this just allows us to fast-track the use of Basalt Fibre straight away which is great for us (cheaper also!).
Carbon Fibre is made from a polymer when in its liquid form (called dope) is spun in an object with thousands of small holes where the dope comes out and is processed. Basalt works the same, but essentially is molten basalt (lava!) as its form of dope. Rest is quite similar in the process.
Basalt fibre also doesn't conduct electricity which is an advantage when building homes. We will quickly look to use Basalt in the entire system but likely to be later in 2020.
We are now working on a small production run of Basalt piers for proper testing.