Mineral wool, also called rock or stone wool, consists of mineral fibres that are formed from molten rock. It is a manufactured product that starts with rock heated to about 871 degrees Celsius. The fibres are formed by forcing high streams of air through the liquid rock or spinning the rock at high speeds. The fibres comprise about 98 per cent of the wool; the remaining 2 per cent consists of binders, which can include substances such as formaldehyde. Mineral wool is used for insulation, filtration, soundproofing and germination of seedlings.
Mineral wood insulation is more fire and water resistant than standard fibreglass insulation, but costs about 10 per cent more. It is sold in batts, like fibreglass, and requires the same precautions when being installed. Wear goggles, a dust mask, gloves and long sleeves to prevent skin irritation and avoid exposure to possible carcinogenic compounds contained in the insulation. Because of its fire resistance, rock wool is the recommended insulation for sealing gaps around wood stove pipes.
Mineral wool also helps control condensation and is resistant to the growth of bacteria, mould and mildew.
One method of soundproofing a room is to add insulation to a room to absorb the noise and provide a dampening effect. The sound waves are converted to heat within the insulation. Mineral wool, in either batts, curtains, blankets or loose fill, is a good choice for soundproofing. Mineral wool has been shown to absorb more noise than fibreglass insulation.
Mineral wood fibres trap small particles, and the fibres themselves are not soluble. This makes mineral wool a good choice for filtering both liquids and gases. Its fire and water resistance makes it particularly suitable as a filter in high-temperature and corrosive conditions. Mineral wool fibres are used as industrial filters, but can also be found in consumer products such as aquarium filters.
Because mineral wood is not soluble in water, retains heat well and is resistant to bacteria growth, it is a good medium to use for seed germination. The seeds are sprinkled on the surface of the rock wool and watered. Since rock wool is alkaline, the pH of the watering solution may need to be adjusted so that the plants are not burnt, however. After the seeds have sprouted and developed roots, nutrients need to be added to the water, since unlike soil, rock wool does not contain organic material the plants can use for food.
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- Canadian Home Workshop; "Know Your Insulation"; Allan Britnell
- The Engineering Toolbox; Mineral Wool Insulation
- ICA Fittings; Mineral Wool 1200 - MSDS
- Michigan State University Extension; Wood Stoves
- Drumdogo: "Basics of Soundproofing"; Clinton Maxwel
- SoundRite Acoustics; Mineral Wool Rockwool Soundproofing Fiber