What are the different uses of Plaster of Paris?

What are the different uses of Plaster of Paris?

Plaster of Paris is a white coloured powder. It is made up of gypsum. The plaster gets its name because, its main ingredient gypsum is found abundantly in Paris. The white powder will form a paste when it is mixed with water and it will harden into solid structures when dried. Thus, Plaster of Paris is used to make casts and moulds.

Production –
Plaster of Paris is produced by heating the gypsum up to 150 degree Celsius. It forms a dry powder of calcium sulphate. The plaster has many uses in the field of architecture. The plasters used in the construction department are all made of gypsum, lime or cement.

Properties –
• It is powdery in nature.
• It can become a thick paste when mixed with water.
• It is mainly white in colour but can be coloured using chemicals.
• When mixed with water pop will crystallise and becomes hard after some time.
• Plaster of Paris is not a very strong material.
• It is fire proof material.

History –
Though it has got its name from Paris, Plaster of Paris was first used by the early Egyptians. We can see the use of it on most of the Egyptian tombs. It was mainly used as a decorative piece. Later, the Greeks used it in their homes, temples and many other places. After they found large deposits of Gypsum in Paris, it began to be called as plaster of Paris.

Uses –
• Plaster of Paris is a building material that is used as a protective coating on walls and ceilings.
• It is also used as a moulding and casting agent for decorative elements.
• It is used to give aesthetic finishing touches to the buildings.
• In the medical department, plaster is used in orthopaedics to put casts around fractured bones. This stiff casts will help the bone heal and become like earlier.
• It is used to make historical monuments and structures.
• It is also used in the fresco painting. It is used to make replicas as it will not shrink even when it is sunk in water.
• Plaster of Paris is used to make sculptures and metal castings used as decorative in buildings.
• It is also used in buildings to avoid fire hazards as Plaster of Paris is fire resistant.
• It is used as a coating on wood and metal structures to avoid any fire accidents.
• Plaster is used to prepare for radiotherapy during production of individualized immobilization shells for patients.
• It is also used in dentistry to make moulds of the teeth to be replaced.
• Plaster is used by funeral homes to recreate destroyed tissue and reconnect severed limbs to the dead bodies in case of accidents. It is also used to fill wounds during murder or accident.

Plaster of Paris is used widely in India. It is used for construction purpose and decorative purpose too. Plaster of Paris in India is also used for medical procedures.

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