Man-Made Engineered Quartz Worktop Materials
Worktop materials can generally be divided into two categories, natural and Man-Made.
Although used for a wide variety of purposes, kitchen countertops and products throughout the home are the most commonly known uses.
On the surface, both natural and enginered materials are practically the same, they are hard and durable and meet the day to day needs of a kitchen environment.
It is only when delving into the detail of each surface type, that differences become magnified and consciously significant.
Man-Made Engineered Quartz
The primary ingredient in Man-Made Engineered Quartz, is a naturally forming crystalline mineral derived from refined granite and marble waste.
The rich waste from processing natural stone combined with chemical reactions involved in manufacturing engineered quartz, catalyses further
quartz growth, called crystallization.
Engineered quartz mixture is composed of approximately 85-94% natural minerals and 6-15% polymeric or cement-based binders, ceramic, glass, mirrors and dies.
The perfected manufacturing technology that amalgamates these two key primary ingredients, produces extremely robust, durable and resistant surfaces.
Quartz worktop surfaces that are of low maintenance
, and affordable compared to other natural and man-made countertop materials.
It is unfortunate that today's world of pushing products to market requires some indirect methods in attempts to be noticed.
Ultimately, to make financial gain from false specifications, decorated words, and outright lies.
Internet sales and promotions provide misinformation as gimmicks
to promote the product, adding confusion to its capabilities.
It is prudent that information is assessed regarding any countertop surface from several sources.
Terminology has also fallen prey with many names given to describe the same product; as long as the prefix quartz is mentioned, along with the suffixes:
countertops, worktops, surfaces and tops, you can rest assured that these are different terms for the same man-made engineered quartz surface.
Surface Material Manufacture
As previously mentioned, the mixture that makes engineered quartz surface materials is primarily made up of refined waste from natural stone materials.
Mined in quarries for a variety of purposes, mainly for construction, small rocks and debris from cutting granite, quartzite, and marble are refined prior to being used in a mixture for manufacture.
The manufacture technique is always performed in batches and each involves several processes that replicate nature in various ways.
Large batches are necessary to ensure continuity in production that affect consistency, colour, designs and texture.
The refined mixture of tiny grains is set down in trays according to 12mm, 20mm or 30mm thickness, then rigorously vibrated and compressed through a process termed 'vibro-compression'.
Addition of dyes, design fragments and bonding cements: Designs require pigments to produce the multitude of quartz colours and veins. Resins and Polymers for binding the quartz mixture together. Pattern fillers are fragments that most quartz surfaces exhibit and vary in size; Mainly of small plain or coloured glass particles, mirror chips or glitter, and aryclic fragments.
The vibro compressed and final patterned and coloured mixture is transferred to a kiln and exposed to very high temperatures. High temperatures are required to replicate the natural process of recrystallisation, in which the quartz grains and minerals in the mixture deform and grow through nucleation. The growth and nucleation is what create the strong and consistent bond that quartz materials are best known for.
The slab is allowed to cool, and then calibrated according to thickness and size of either a set standard or giant slab dimension. Highly polished or polished and brushed to a set surface finish, the quartz slab is finally sealed and labelled to fulfill orders to wholesale material suppliers or fabricators like Master of granite and marble..
The technology to create engineered quartz was developed in 1963
by the Breton company in northeast Italy.
The processing technology was licensed under the trademark Bretonstone
Machinery became large enough to produce slabs measuring approximately 50 inches (1.27 metres) in length by the mid-1970s. however, early productions lacked colour and pattern variations.
Only recently, now that the development in technology has been developed, that large scale slabs and popular colours, veins and surface finishes can be manufactured.
The evolution of engineered quartz work surfaces continues to see a dramatic increase in variety; with a multitude of manufacturers, suppliers, and fabricators.