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What Is Artificial Marble?

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Artificial marble, a favored material in modern architecture and interior design, has attracted much attention for its versatile appearance, durability and relatively low cost. In the field of architecture and design, artificial marble has not only become an alternative to natural marble, but has also become an independent design element through its unique characteristics. This article will take an in-depth look at the characteristics, manufacturing process, applications, and differences between artificial marble and natural marble.

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Table of Contents

I. What is artificial stone and its advantages and disadvantages?

1. What is artificial stone?

Artificial stone is a composite material made from crushed stone held together by an adhesive, most commonly a polymer resin, with some newer versions using a cementitious mixture. This category includes artificial quartz, polymer concrete and artificial marble.

The process of making artificial stone usually involves mixing natural quartz particles, resins, pigments and other additives together, then solidifying and shaping them through a process of high temperature and pressure. This production process gives artificial stone a certain degree of hardness, sturdiness and wear resistance, while also enabling customization of various colors and textures.

Artificial stone is a stone substitute made from man-made synthetic materials and is commonly used in construction, decoration and furniture manufacturing. This type of material is designed to mimic the appearance and performance of natural stone while having more consistent properties to meet specific design needs. Artificial stone can be used to make various surfaces such as countertops, floors, walls, and bathroom vanities.

2. Advantages and disadvantages of artificial stone

● Advantages

(1) Not easy to fade

The surface of artificial stone is not easy to fade, and it also has the texture of natural stone, which is very decorative. In addition, its appearance is seamless, it is not easy for water to enter, its water absorption rate is low, its anti-fouling and anti-fouling effect is very good, and it is easier to clean!

(2) Wear resistance

Artificial stone is also a stone material, has certain wear resistance and has a relatively long service life. Moreover, the stone has a certain temperature resistance and is very durable if used as a countertop!

(3) Very malleable

Artificial stone itself is artificially manufactured and has strong plasticity. Stones of various colors can be produced according to market demand. The decoration effect is also very good.

(4) Environmental protection

Natural elements like resin and stone powder are used as the raw ingredients for artificial stone, despite the fact that it is artificially produced. When building, there is no need to combine any dangerous materials. Artificial stone is therefore comparatively eco-friendly and green!

(5) Consistency

Artificial stone looks and performs more consistently than natural stone because the production process allows for greater control over the material’s composition and texture.

(6) Wear resistance

Artificial stone generally has a high hardness and wear resistance, making it suitable for surfaces that receive frequent use, such as kitchen countertops.

(7) Customization of color and texture

When making artificial stone, various colors and texture effects can be achieved by adding pigments and adjusting the distribution of particles.

(8) Antibacterial properties

Because the surface of artificial stone is usually very dense, it may be less permeable to bacteria and mold and have some antibacterial properties.

(9) Easy to clean

Artificial stone usually has a smooth surface that is impermeable to liquids, making it easier to clean.

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● Disadvantages

(1) Poor shrinkage performance

After all, artificial stone is made of stone powder and has poor shrinkage performance. If there are frequent temperature differences between hot and cold, it will be prone to cracking and damage.

(2) Not heat resistant

High temperatures can easily cause artificial stone to lose its luster. Compared with some natural stones, artificial stone may be less resistant to high temperatures. If artificial stone is used as a cabinet countertop, it is best not to place overheated appliances on the stone surface. Otherwise, long-term high temperature will cause the stone to lose its luster and affect its appearance!

(3) Difficulty in repair

Artificial stone is not easily chipped or scratched, but if it does happen, it can be very difficult to repair.

(4) The seams are obvious

Artificial stone’s seams may be more noticeable than natural stone, so if you are installing artificial stone, ask where they will be placed and why before continuing with the installation process.

(5) Sensitive to scratches

In some cases, artificial stone may be more sensitive to scratches, so care needs to be taken with sharp objects.

(6) May not be as beautiful as natural stone

Although artificial stone can mimic the look of natural stone, some may still believe that natural stone has a more unique aesthetic.

(7) Limited restorability

If the surface of artificial stone is damaged, repair options may be limited, especially when compared to natural stone.

(8) The price is relatively high

While artificial stone is generally less expensive, the price may still be higher compared to some natural stones.

II. Artificial marble

Artificial marble is a synthetic material created by combining natural marble particles or powders, resins, pigments, and other additives. It has an appearance similar to natural marble, but with more design flexibility, consistency, and customizability. This material is usually widely used in construction and interior decoration, such as kitchen countertops, bathroom countertops, floors, walls, etc.

1. Ingredients

Artificial marble is a mixture of 90% natural limestone aggregate, crushed sand, glass powder and 7% binder, usually resin glue, colorants and other additives. The size and color of marble particles can be adjusted according to the manufacturer’s design.

2. Appearance

Artificial marble mimics the appearance of natural marble, but is generally more uniform and less prone to the grain irregularities of natural marble.

3. Features

(1) Color and pattern

Artificial marble can simulate the appearance, grain and texture of natural marble, providing an upscale, luxurious feel. Artificial marble is available in a wide range of color options, from classic marble white to dark colours and colorful patterns.

(2) Texture

By controlling the distribution and arrangement of stone powder, artificial marble can simulate a texture similar to natural marble. These textures can be subtle stripes, spots, cloud-like patterns, etc., giving the surface a more textured feel.

(3) Design flexibility

Various color and pattern changes can be achieved by adjusting the type and proportion of pigments during the manufacturing process, making them similar or distinct from different types of natural marble, giving it more design flexibility to meet the needs of different customers.

(4) Glossiness

The surface of artificial marble is often polished to increase its luster and make it more similar to natural marble. Polishing can make surfaces appear smooth, shiny, and enhance the overall appearance.

(5) Consistency

Artificial marble has a higher consistency than natural stone because it is produced in a controlled environment, reducing the effects of natural variations.

(6) Uniformity

Artificial marble is generally more uniform in color and texture than natural marble. This gives designers greater control over the appearance of materials, ensuring a consistent look throughout the project.

(7) Customizability

Because the production process of artificial marble is relatively controllable, manufacturers can tailor the composition of the material to the specific needs of customers, creating a variety of unique looks and styles to meet specific design and functional needs.

(8) Wear resistance

Artificial marble generally has good wear resistance and is suitable for use on surfaces that receive frequent use, such as countertops.

(9) Easy to clean

Artificial marble surfaces are usually specially treated to make them less susceptible to stains and easier to clean and maintain.

(10) Relatively low cost

Artificial marble is often more affordable than some high-end natural marbles.

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4. Artificial marble production process

(1) Raw material preparation

The main raw materials include natural marble particles or powder, resin (usually a polymer resin such as polyester resin or acrylic resin), pigments and possible fillers and reinforcements. These raw materials must be precisely proportioned to ensure the quality and performance of the final product.

(2) Mix

Marble particles, resin and other additives are mixed together in specific proportions. The mixing process is usually done in a large mixer to ensure that the ingredients are evenly mixed.

(3) Dyeing and design

Depending on product design needs, color and design elements can be added to the mix. This allows artificial marble to simulate the appearance of various natural marbles.

(4) Molded

The mixture is injected into the mold and molded under high temperature and pressure. The design of the mold determines the shape and texture of the final product.

(5) Cure

The molded marble blocks are fed into an oven or other curing equipment to allow the resin to solidify at high temperatures. This step is key to ensuring product strength and stability.

(6) Cutting

The cured marble blocks are cut into slabs or other shapes that meet design specifications.

(7) Polishing

Polish the cut marble to obtain a smooth and shiny surface. Polishing also helps bring out color and texture.

(8) Inspection and quality control

Conduct strict inspection and quality control to ensure that products comply with relevant standards and regulations. Check the quality in terms of appearance, size, color, etc.

(9) Packaging and shipping

After completing the inspection, the artificial marble products are packaged and then ready to be shipped to the sales market.

III. The difference between artificial marble and natural marble

Compared with natural marble, artificial marble is stronger and easier to maintain. It can provide the high-end look of marble while avoiding some of the imperfections of natural marble.

The hardness of artificial marble is the same as that of natural marble, and its water absorption rate is small. However, its heat resistance and ultraviolet resistance are not as good as those of natural stone, and it is easily scratched and broken.

Therefore, it requires higher construction technology and requires careful maintenance to maintain its original appearance. Beauty, affected by highly acidic foods.

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Natural Marble
Artificial Marble

Element

It is a naturally formed rock, mainly composed of calcium carbonate minerals, formed by high temperature and high pressure deep in the earth's crust. The minerals in natural marble cause different textures and color changes.

It is usually mixed with synthetic resin, pigments and some natural stone powder to create a material with a marble-like appearance.

Manufacturing Process

Mined from within the earth, it is cut and polished to form marble slabs. This process is often time-consuming and labor-intensive.

By mixing resin, pigments and stone powder, they are put into a mold to make the desired shape, and then undergo processes such as hardening and polishing to finally form a marble-like surface.

 

Appearance

Due to its natural formation, each piece of marble has a unique texture and color. This makes natural marble richer and more varied in appearance.

Although the formula can be adjusted to imitate natural marble, because it is synthetic, it usually lacks the natural variation and texture of natural marble.

Durability and stain resistance

Relatively fragile and susceptible to scratches and chemical properties. May react with acids and chemical cleaners.

Typically more durable, have a more uniform surface, and are more resistant to scratches and chemicals.

Price

Typically more expensive because mining and processing natural stone requires more resources and man-hours.

Relatively cheaper because the manufacturing process is more controllable and the cost is relatively low.

IV. Conclusion

Artificial marble is not only an alternative to natural marble, but also a stand-alone, eye-catching design element.

With the continuous development of synthetic technology, artificial marble will continue to develop and innovate. Its improvements in sustainability and environmental protection will also promote its widespread use in future construction projects. If you have any ideas about marble, please feel free to contact us!

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