What is a Gypsum?

The use of gypsum has increased so much that the production of gypsum has more than doubled in recent years. Gypsum is used to make wall-board and tiles because it resists fire and water so well, and because it insulates a building against both heat and cold. The board or blocks of gypsum can be nailed and sawed like wood.

A mixture of gypsum with a little cement and  certain other materials forms a light building material called "staff". This is generally used in constructing temporary buildings. What is gypsum? it is a mineral of calcium sulphate in combination with water. There is a translucent kind of gypsum that is known as "selenite", and another which has a translucent kind of gypsum that is called "alabaster".

Most gypsum is mined from thick beds. Some deposits of it are near the surface, while others are far below. Gypsum beds over 100 meters thick are found in parts of Texas over areas of hundreds of square miles. Gypsum has been used as a plaster and a building material since the time of the ancient Egyptians.

If gypsum is used alone or mixed with sand or lime, it can be molded into casts, stucco, tiling, or finishing plasters. Or it can be made into wall-board or blocks. Many stage and film-sets are made of gypsum wall-board and plaster of Paris. Sculptors, surgeons and dentists also use it for making casts. Gypsum is found in Cheshire and other parts of England, but it occurs in the largest quantities in the United States.   

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