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Foreverboard (magnesium oxide)  RSS feed

 
Kris Arbanas
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Anyone have experience with this stuff? It is a US made mag board but after looking at the MSDS it seems to have added(unwanted) ingredients. Does all mag board have additives like fiberglass and EPS to them?

Section 2- Composition/lnformation On lngredients
Magnesium Oxide 1309-48-4
Magnesium Chloride 7746-30-3 None
Perlite
Fiberglass
Proprietary Additives
EPS

http://www.foreverboard.net/
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Kris,

They are over in Buffalo New York and Ron Voit is the owner. I have asked the same questions, and when I learn more, I will post here. I am very excited to have such a regional and small producer so close. I hope the product is evo-safe and/or can be made so if requested. Ron has some proprietary elements to his way of making the board as I understand it...

EPS 9003 53 6 (Ethenylbenzene homopolymer) is my main concern and what I am in contact with Ron about. This inclusion will probably stop me from using the material, unless it can be removed from some of their product sheet goods.

Regards,

j
 
Kris Arbanas
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Hi Jay C,

I just got off the phone with Ron, and after speaking with him I can tell you that he uses much less magnesium then the Chinese makers. He claims it is better because the salts don't corrode the screws which can make the Chinese stuff fall off the wall. It also makes his product almost half the weight and less expensive. Sounds promising except for the fact that he has replaced the magnesium with expanded polystyrene.

He wouldn't reveal the amount of non magnesium additives in his mix for obvious reasons. He also claimed that the Chinese stuff is loaded with asbestos.

Tough call as I would like to test either his board or Magnum board on my milkhouse this summer and see how it works under moist conditions.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hey Kris,

Ron has now had two of us asking the same questions. I tried to explain that in our "building market" (i.e. traditional/natural) saying something is "non toxic" and "environmentally safe" has to mean not only the product itself but the manufacturing process and industries behind it as well. I went on to explain that EPS is not a material we call a "natural product." I also hope he can get back to me about producing an actual MgO board material that actually has more MgO than other things like EPS. MSDS sheets are "suppose" to show actual percentage of materials...His does not and has a rather nebulous flavor to it about what exactly is in the boards.. I was a little disappointed to have someone advertise an MgO product that has very little in it, but we will see what develops. I also question the 'asbestos' comment he has made as MgO mining has little if anything to do with that material in any significant amounts.

Do you know about Jet Board? Compare the MSDS for the two products...

Regards,

j
 
Kris Arbanas
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I have not previously heard of jetboard. Have you been in contact with them? Do you know what the 20% filler/binder is composed of?

Section II – INGREDIENTS / IDENTITY INFORMATION
Name...........................................................................................................................%
Magnesium Oxide .............................................................................................................. 50
Magnesium Chloride.......................................................................................................... 20
Filler and binding material................................................................................................. 20
Filtered wood shavings ..................................................................................................... 10

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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I have a call and email both into them about exactly that...I will post here and perhaps start a MgO post to keep all this info straight for us to come back to for reference...
 
Kris Arbanas
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I heard back from Jetboard and the filler they use is mostly perlite which seems similar to "Magnumboard" product. There is a 2% proprietary binder Jetboard uses.
 
Terry Ruth
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China is the biggest miner of MGO, you have to be careful with quality that varies with salt content to take down cost. There are some products that come out of China that are excellent, and there are some that fall apart. Same with the US. Primer is the only one I know of mining MGO, they are a raw material distributor not a mfg. You have to understand chemistry enough to design the proper mix for your applications. Just about everyone else is getting it from China, some I found will hide that fact, some even lie saying theirs is better when in fact it comes from China. Ask for an invoice or call Premier to see if they have an acquisition for raw materials. Premier makes a "Light Burnt (MOC)" MGO that has a wider range or reactivity (binds to more materials) compared to Dead Burnt (MOC), so if a board is performing better the raw materials should be light. Again, verify that. Dragon Board is a quality board, I recently seen it on a home doing well. Not sure about Jet Board, I think they both come from the same China raw mfg. I'll be using it if I can not afford the 7 week lead time from China, but full home boards come in containers from China at a reduced cost. There is no asbestos in the raw materials. See below.

If you get the raw material you need a "reactor" or catalyst. Two families’ mag-phosphates or chlorides (both salts) you get locally to make what you want. Chlorides cost less (.12 cents/lb, phosphates $1.00) ...chloride’s need a controlled environment to mfg. There is no asbestos in the raw materials.

My understanding is basically a SIPs construction with a perlite core aggregate. The perlite gives it vapor storage/content and permeability, good drainage, the binder should be a MGO/clay mix no toxic chemicals. Out from the core about 1/16 in from both outer surfaces is raw fiberglass mesh for strength and acts as lathe to hold on to the MGO skins that do not conduct heat or electricity providing a thermal break and additional hygroscopic thermal mass.

The renders (mud, paint, are critical). Mineral silicates work well. I know Keim stopped warranting their paints due to drastic salt contents in some boards.

If you are going to try this you have to do due diligence or it can be a disaster. I'm fortunate to have George Swanson as a mentor whom frequents China often and the manufacturing plants, built many homes. He is a very sincere trustworthy fellow. He has his heart in ever since he lost his first new born to asbestos poisoning.

Three basic types or grades of "burned" magnesium oxide can be obtained from the calcination (Calcination (also referred to as calcining) is a thermal treatment process in absence of air or oxygen applied to ores and other solid materials to bring about a thermal decomposition, phase transition, or removal of a volatile fraction.) step with the differences between each grade related to the degree of reactivity remaining after being exposed to a range of extremely high temperatures.

Dead burned magnesium oxide (MPC) : Temperatures used when calcining to produce refractory grade magnesia will range between 1500ºC - 2000ºC and the magnesium oxide is referred to as "dead-burned" since most, if not all, of the reactivity has been eliminated. Refractory grade MgO is used extensively in steel production to serve as both protective and replaceable linings for equipment used to handle molten steel.

Hard burned magnesium oxide : A second type of magnesium oxide produced from calcining at temperatures ranging from 1000ºC - 1500ºC is termed "hard-burned.” Due to it's narrow range of reactivity, this grade is typically used in applications where slow degradation or chemical reactivity is required such as with animal feeds and fertilizers.

Light burned magnesium oxide (MOC) : The third grade of MgO is produced by calcining at temperatures ranging from 700ºC - 1000ºC and is termed "light-burn" or "caustic" magnesia. Due to the material's wide reactivity range, industrial applications are quite varied and include plastics, rubber, paper and pulp processing, steel boiler additives, adhesives, and acid neutralization to name just a few.


 
Kris Arbanas
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Ron from "Foreverboard" told me that it was the talcum ("Dragonboard" is the only one that lists this in the MSDS) that is contaminated with asbestos, not the mag oxide/chloride.

Dragonboard MSDS:
Magnesium Oxide
Magnesium Chloride
Talcum Powder

Terry, are you saying that the higher the mag oxide to mag chloride the better?

Jetboard is the only one that lists the percentage and they have 50% MgO to 20% MgCl.
 
Terry Ruth
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Kris, I never believe sales guys. I'd ask Ron to show his third party lab test? I'm not familiar with that powder but it is meaningless by itself. From what I understand, and I'm no chemist, each material has a reaction with one another to form a chemical by-product. Some reactions change chem properties. George has a master chemist that reviews all this...If I understood him we are getting the same board as Dragon from China but do not quote me. Dragon may modify the board, I don't know. I just seen a MGO home and it was rock solid after five years and it was not even painted......I seen one that has issues but lessons were learned. That is why I say it helps to have a builder that has went through the growing pains...they are part of gaining experience with any building product.

I tried to figure out a shotcrete mix, tried to get Premier to help me determine a mix since they have a lab. It can set fast and clog a gunnite. They said they are not interested at this time. I don't see how they are going to sell a lot of raw materials with no help in applications like Argonne lab use to provide to USA builders. They have start-up mixes on their site...then the trial error begins if you want to take that analytical path. I did not, not now, so I decided to get some help from a reliable source George who has built many mag homes in the US and China and take a prescriptive path so I can pass code too. I do not know mix ratios, I'd need a lab and some test...Maybe someday once I get more familiar with it.

I was talking to a guy today about infilling mag boards with cellular concrete with a rock aggregate. That give me more mass in a light construction wall and make it more storm proof for a slab on grade. I told him my theory sounds great, now we need a lot of R$D time and money. I'll probably go with mag-mineral wool-mag, paint and mud that is it. 3 layers is all I need. No Tyvek or vapor barriers, no foam or plastics. I'm using 2x6's @ 24 OC...

Next time I talk to George I'll ask about the talc powder and it if is non-reactive or emmits abestos when combined with MGO & Cloride.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Terry,

Thanks for that great break down!!

Over the day's "back channel" checks and info, I am neither please nor impress with Ron's "Foreverboard." To say the claims are a bit outlandish would be an understatement. At this point I don't think I can even agree that what he intends on manufacturing is actually MgO board. At best I would call it an EPS foam board with "secret additives??" (whatever those are) and only enough perlite and MgO to provide fire resistance, mass, and rigidity. I now even question some of the other long term claims, and absolutely would not consider this either a "natural product," and by my standards not even a "green product."

The "asbestos" issue and accusation by Ron about other manufacturer's products was a bit of a red flag for me. Steatite (aka soap stone, talc-schist, soap rock) is an actual natural material (unlike EPS) I have worked with for decades. Talc is made from the softer types of Steatite, and there can be asbestos minerals in some of these...not all. I would further point out that asbestos is not the "evil demon" that many try to paint it to be. It is a completely naturally occurring and completely nontoxic in its natural state from everything I have read, studied and know of it. IF you grind it into dust and atomize it...it is dangerous and cancer causing IF there is enough asbestos...yet not anymore so in than some hardwood's dust or other minerals that are in powder/dust form. Granite has probably taken as many lives from silicosis as asbestos has caused harm. I have actually worked around asbestos on and off my entire life, from carving all types of soapstone (some with asbestos veins in it) to restorations projects with all types of asbestos materials from vintage shingles to insulation...It is in how you treat it that is the issue...not the material itself. Lead paint (which itself isn't bad unless you eat it) does more damage environmentally than asbestos. Asbestos is simply dampened (to control dusting) and barred in the ground, as it is an inert mineral. Lead abatement has to be done much more carefully or groundwater is polluted... .
 
Terry Ruth
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This industry is interesting Jay. Just cannot trust anyone. I had read about asbestos concerns in vermiculite insulation in an Article on GBA (Green Building Advisors) that failed to educate its readers on what you and Bill wrote above I did not know. The same site that ‘advices” foam, plastics, in just about every build and do not list the health hazards. Sales hype when they point you to a MSDS, especially when they fail to identify all the materials used, testing, etc, of “proprietary blends” and associated health hazards in thier own products.

Most including me, since it is all we have in many cases the MSDS as a guide, to try and figure out the chemical content of the assemble and how they react with one another. ROMA actually does a good job at revealing from what I can tell but still you never know unless you are part of the test to witness it and the manufacturing. That goes with the turf of putting quality control in someone elses hands I don't like but sometimes necessary. If I get going with Mag board I would eventually manufacture my own if I had the facility...that opens a whole can of worms as you know, cost, whether there would be a toxic material emitting to our indoor air I would be liable for. I have been involved in lab testing and I can tell you all there is more to it than reading a MSDS. I have not been involved in Indoor Air Quality test such as parts per million, etc….I’ll be purchasing some meters soon (moisture, temperature, RH) multi-meter. If you have any particular brand you know is accurate please let me know.

Since I do not have the tools to do the proper testing, I will hope the IAQ meter I end up with will read the chems coming off my boards, etc, or I will take a sample to a lab that should not cost a lot before I build a lot of homes. Funny how you can get a Energy Star "IAQ Plus" rating without having an IAQ test by meter? I want to play with the mag muds and paints too. I have some ROMA mineral silicate I put on drywall since they claimed it penetrate through the paper opening the pores which it does not (see attached). Neither did the acrylic latex. Huge odor difference, I smell “new home” toxic soup latex in just about every new home around here. I hear a MGO bath will open paper pores so that is the next test. I always thought drywall was clued on but it apears it is glued to the gympsum binder, I hear they use fillers and recycled gympsum that may be a mold source? I can get a non-natural grade from my local coal buring facility, same place I get free flyash. It does not dry that fast. MAG board will out perform it and OSB/Plywood by far. I’d use ROMA over latex or bare drywall since it is better than more latex or the claims made by “low VOC” paint companies like Benjamin Moore comparable in price. I’ll get some MGO board and try some ROMA. Keim is the same I believe.
ROMA-DRYWALL-PENETRATION.JPG
[Thumbnail for ROMA-DRYWALL-PENETRATION.JPG]
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Kris, Terry, et al,

Well it is good to be affirmed that my instincts about this product and the inventor Ron Voit was accurate...

I just had a "direct and frank" conversation with Mr. Voit. He is clearly a person with "opinions" and has no problem sharing them with anyone that will listen. He is a Business person, before anything else, and with that comes...like so many others...the effort and focus of jumping onto the "green product" band wagon. His primary goal is strictly the "sheet rock" and other "gypsum" board market which is a billion dollar industry and they have taken notice of him and his product...he stressed to inform me!!

He stated that he has been contacted by both Jet and Dragon board, but stated..."I have no interest in working with them, or their materials...They make an inferior product..." Then the conversation turned to EPS and not being a "natural material" how can he claim his board is "environmentally safe" and causes not environmental impact? He first throughs out a great deal of info really fast and then when I re-framed the question he changed the subject to "talc," and if I knew what that was. Before I could really answer he went off on all the issues with "talc," how toxic it is, and the presence of "asbestos." At this point in the conversation I asked if he knew about steatite and what that was... which gave the conversation a pause that lasted long enough to me explain that asbestos in not a significant risk in most talc products and the marketing "hype" that "some" manufactures use over this "non-issue" is unfair to those that actually use soapstone and related steatite based materials. He then asked me directly my background, and what I was looking for...

I went on to explain my credentials and hopeful use for a product that was actually MgO based that doesn't have to be shipped across the ocean. He then asked what rate of consumption I would be using the board for, and I explained it would be a,

"...sheet good material to effectively and rapidly cover large areas with a "natural material" that will be both effectively permeable and good strata for clay, lime, and related natural plasters and other natural finishers..."

His next comment really took me a bit by surprise as I knew he really wasn't interested in the "real" natural building market or actually producing a green product. He said...

"...Lime...REALLY!!...that's some nasty stuff...it out-gases all kinds of toxins and other things..."

At this point in the conversation (I had hints, but now they got confirmed) that Ron Voit "knows what he knows," and does not seek to much information past what he "thinks" he knows...

I asked for classification, but the conversation got immediately shifted to who is impressed by his product, who wants it, how many other plants he is considering opening across the globe and what markets he is actually interested in. I felt I was not speaking with someone that was solidly anchored in sustainable architecture or really motivated in anything other than the product he makes and understands (the way he wants to understand it) and how much money he plans on making with it... In retrospect, this is not an unusual personality trait of many gifted inventors I have known and know. He is not the kind of person to suffer questions from anyone that he thinks doesn't at least have "some knowledge," yet the business person in him is still keenly focused on "sales."

He then asked point blank how many buildings, and what type I am involved in each year. I told him that I have direct involvement with between 15 and 30 on average and provided guidance and feedback on perhaps 30 to 100 more. He then asked are they all..."these natural kind'a buildings...?" I said yes, prominently.

We then moved into the MSDS issue and he stated very bluntly he does not have to share "what amounts of anything are in his boards," or the "special ingredients" he uses. I asked why some of the "better manufactures" do provide this information and are more forthcoming and invested in dialogue about the different materials, there properties, and how they may be improved with customer feedback?

He "told me" that Coca Cola doesn't provide their information about the "secret formula," and that it is never going to happen that he will either.

I explained that actually Coca Cola's "hype" about there "secret formula" is much more about adverting their uniqueness than actually keeping a "trade secret," and that actually there are non-company officials that have tested, inspected, and certificated these elements because they would not be able to sell a food product in this country without such independent testing. This is one of the reasons "cocaine" was removed from the product later in its existence. MSDS testing and certification has much to be improved on, I went on to explain, yet the better manufacture seem to strive for as much transparency as possible...especially in the "natural building market" that is rapidly growing...

He moved the conversation back into all the other manufactures that are wanting him to make board for them, the massive volume he is projecting in production, how he is only interested in real investors. I then asked when he would actually be making production run products to sell? The reply was..."later this month." yet he has done local projects for folks with allergies...

I asked what minimum order I would have to place to get a formula change removing the EPS, and replacing it with Poraver Expanded Glass Beads? He said he has the product there, has experimented with it but doesn't like the weight it adds to the board. I said I am not concerned with the weight, but could he manufacture the boards to my specifications. He said I would have to order 1000 boards.

The rest of the ending conversation is not really that important. I found what seems like a very blunt person, and way too much of a "business only" type to work with effectively at this time. I believe he could possibly provide a service to the natural building market in the future if it was made "worth his while." Trusting that he would follow strict material protocols to a formula that isn't his own I can't really determine at this time. I do feel that if enough folks asked him to, he would capitulate, as he did make reference to Kris's phone call the other day. He will require somebody else of Terry's or George's caliber to not only request, but I am afraid, "confront" his many misrepresented and inaccurate notions about what is sustainable, and actually a "natural product." He still negated the EPS being any issue and that his product is natural and is an MgO based produced even though indirectly I ascertain that it is not anywhere near the primary material in the board compared to the EPS, Perlite and other materials he would not (will not ever??) disclose...which is the real issue for me in trusting a product...The cost and time of these boards, at this time, aren't worth the effort compared to locally obtained and traditional materials...It is yet to actually be a savings...nor a proven better material or system with a clear and well understood empirical history...

That's all I have to report at this time...hope it helps...

j
 
Terry Ruth
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I busted out laughing at certian points in that last post Jay. Don't ya just love it when they can't stick with the technical content at hand(talc) since they have been challanged, rather they redirect it to challange you with a subject matter that is completely out in left feild (your credentials). At times when they realized you know more than they do they get so frustrated since the sales hype BS does not work that gets shut down fast with tech knowledge, the only recourse left are peronally attacks. I've learned that is when it is tme to ignore, they know what they don't and why arugue with a person that does not have the tools to understand.

My guess based on the conversation he is getting his board from China, or the raw materials, since Premier takes some engineering and it is more expensive. I'll keep buying from China for now until I can figure a way out. I'll eventually try and localize, get my raw materials from Premier. All the boards are is pressure plate manufacturing, maybe some temp no biggie. The trick is cure speeds, MGO dries fast which is creat for walls, I think that has to do with salt (chloride, phosphate content)......Premier has a shotcrete mix for sale but when I asked what gun and if the mix is cloging it no answer.....I'll have to get with George but he has alot of applications. Faswall/Durisol for example, the added mag and small OPC fully penetrates the low density compressed wood fibers. I asked George why not use any wood chips and add mag/clay mix and he said it would fully penetrate the wood they have a "proprietary mix". I can respect that sorta. He uses left over Faswall chips from them under foundations. Since it is highly hygroscopic no barriers needed. He uses recycled glass from junk yeards under it since it is a cleaner drain he says than pea gravel. Crushed glass at the junk yard I dunno. Magboard over the slab foundation also is a hygroscopic-collector, thermal break...it is durable enough as a floor finish alone or sub-floor for wood.
 
Kris Arbanas
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Terry Ruth wrote: I'll probably go with mag-mineral wool-mag, paint and mud that is it. 3 layers is all I need. No Tyvek or vapor barriers, no foam or plastics. I'm using 2x6's @ 24 OC...


If omitting the vapor barrier, does it make sense to add additional outboard insulation as suggested by Roxul here: http://www.roxul.com/files/RX-NA_EN/pdf/Technical%20Bulletins_Guides/Residential/10393_ROXUL_ComfortBoard_Tech_Doc_Eng_July2.pdf or is it not necessary because mag board will not rot like standard sheathing?

Ex. {mag} - {roxul batt} - {mag} - {roxul insulated sheathing} - {wood siding}
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Kris,

They short answer...it depends...

Mag board walls are but one system. You could omit, with a timber framing and wall truss system any sheathing materials (and there cost) completely, other than the Roxul batt and then board materiel. Then the only thing would be to build the rain-screen system and hang your chosen siding type...even a mag boar if that was the exterior finish effect one cared for...

Regards,

j
 
Terry Ruth
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is it not necessary because mag board will not rot like standard sheathing


Exactly! MAG-ROXUL-MAG. Three layers, that is it. No outsulation, although Faswall or Durisol does that well naturally. I recently just seen a two year old mag home in hot humid south TX that looked brand new and had not been painted yet. The MAG skins are called molecular sieves, like some clay it has a large internal pore size f ~ 2-50 nano-meter that does not let liquid moisture in but is vapor permeable/breathable, to manage surface condensation like engineered sheathing_siding that can't. It combines these layers. Small water molecules or vapor that can pass get trapped in the mag_ per-lite or rock aggregate core mix, are dried like an evaporator phase change producing latent heat, and/or are diffused back to lower humidity/pressures.

I'm using 9/16. It will not function as good as a 300mm earth wall with even larger sieves in some clays but, much better than OSB/Plywood/Hardiboard. The MGO is non combustible (4 hr burn)/conductive so wood studs will not thermally bridge. It is also Dade county hurricane resistance.

We are still under a steep learning curve here is the USA unlike China. If a person is not well versed in building, Engineering, Science, there will be more risk. This is advanced technology due to the shipping from China, poor quality boards, and lack of mining, product testing, experience. There are mixes the board mfgs do not even know about that are part of making the design work or sustain. The USA industry is far from being standardized and secure.

Do not mean to scare anyone off but, lack of experience does come with a price and I know of seasoned engineers/builders that have already paid that HIGH price. I'll be investing into instrumentation, testing before and after the build...I have already started pre-testing and verifying manufactures claims that are not accurate....I have decades of testing and knowing what to look for tho. I'll probably start a thread as soon as I have my plan further I am building in Chief Architect CAD. I'll be running HVAC simulations perhaps WUFI or something, and I hope IAQ analysis if there is good software for it.

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Great Stuff Terry!!,

This post is pushing me to answer some offline questions I am getting about..."what is the best wall design?" I have been responding individually to folks, but it is coming to light that I need to address many "misconceptions" and "I thinks" going on out in the "natural building world" that are going to lead folks to have issues down the line. Like when is it "must have" regarding a "rain screen" wall system, and when does it just become an "added perk."

A "MAG-ROXUL-MAG" (MRM) is a perfect example when a "rain screen" isn't really necessary per se, but would enhance the wall design...You could say an "MRM" wall by itself is a B+ wall and a "MRM with rain screen and heavy lime/cobb interior plasters," with a minimum thickness of 250 mm is an "A+" wall. Through in a timber frame in that design and you got about as good as it will get for a "natural wall system" that should last literally 1000 years plus with little to know maintenance. "Tweaking" these in thickness is what will yield a "net zero" home or very close to it.

Terry...could you expand or define this for folks better, I am sure a number of our readers may be a bit confused and these are some vitally important things to understand or know about?

Molecular sieves:

Latent Heat:

Evaporator Phase Change:

I will add here that folks need to understand "free water" and "bound water" as well as water or humidity load capacity of materials. Timber frames with lime and/or clay interior plasters, MAG Board, and interior cobb, or related walls and furnishings (like RMH) can absorb and hold many liters of water without any ill effect. This "Dampening System" is what makes them so much more functional than other modern wall systems and building methods.

Terry, can you explain, "I'm using 9/16?"

I absolutely agree that there is a vast difference between a 300mm earth wall with clay's "dampening system" of large sieve ability, and that of ...OSB/Plywood/Hardiboard (OPH)...!!! The first is how we should be building, while the later (unfortunely) is what 99% of the contractors are building for our homes, and will not last or give us healthy homes. A simple MRM wall would be such a vast improvement over a OPH wall system that one should be illegal and the other the "minimum standard" for building code.

Do not mean to scare anyone off but, lack of experience does come with a price...


Agreed...scaring folks...is not...the goal at all, yet I must stress that too many workshops and related DIYer groups are making all this seem a lot easier than it really is. It is not just a mater of "stacking some straw bales" or "throwing cobb at a vertical pile of more cobb..." Architecture is a wee bit more complicated than that? As you have pointed out, we both know "experts" and "seasoned professionals" that have made huge mistakes in some of there designs (usually from following industry recommendations and not their own testing and common sense) so to think that a first time DIYer is going to just go out and build something without a lot of planing and follow up feedback, is to really take a huge risk.

Great post Terry, thanks in advance for outlining some of those points more clearly...
 
Terry Ruth
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Big X2 to what Jay said. Mag construction SIP type insitu construction which is what this is at the job site at these thicknesses is not A+ and s/b the new code 2017 norm. The LAST thing a person wants to do is take direction on how to build from a manufacturer that has limited sales vision and experience on their products only. Trust me been around them over thirty years. I highly recommend if a person wants to take on a mag home get guidance from a seasoned builder that has structures/mechanical/HVAC knowledge or support, go look at some of their builds first, get familiar with their suppliers too, other builds they sourced to. If new to construction take on another method that is better known in your building environment, trades, inspectors, banks, appraisers, realtors, HOAs, etc....

A better technical explanation to the reasons why can be found on this thread: http://www.permies.com/t/48019/natural-building/Indoor-Air-Quality-Healthy-Building#384341
 
Terry Ruth
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Over the past couple days I have had long discussions with Premier and Ron Voit at Foreverboard. I’m very supportive of American mined MGO and Premier, Martin Marietta, since I’m American. I had not heard of Foreverboard before so I assumed incorrectly they were another fly-by-night company importing from China like many down in Florida. The problem with the bulk of this industry is there is A LOT of conflicting personal opinions AND battles out there, false testing, facilities, claims, and in my opinion this industry is in a state of flux needing development and stabilization.

From what I understand, there are brokers that find whatever boards they can from many China distributers and there is no quality control that is easy for the average American homebuyer, builder, etc, to understand anyway. I have been involved with manufacturing Quality Engineering, Assurance, and Control. Ideally, it involves third party or client involvement to establish a manufacturing process/contract. If there are supplier changes the client or third party inspector gets notified and the contract is amended. Also, third parties can lot sample test without notice. It certainly does not happen by word of mouth especially on the internet. Internet Advisors can be some of the most destructive in the industry, especially the ones that have no real hands on build experience and/or in this case MGO mining or any manufacturing experience to speak of. I apologize for jumping the gun here with Foreverboard. Based after all the lies I have heard of American suppliers hiding their China suppliers Foreverboard is not one.

We discussed the Design Ron has and I have a pretty good idea of it as I have a lot of experience with very similar designs and manufacturing using carbon and e-glass, honeycomb cores, currently. He uses Premier raw MGO binding materials or skins in a scrim cloth, absorptive perlite aggregate core, etc, and although I am no chemist I have a decent knowledge behind the chemistry that should be more consistent and stable than China’s due to MGO type and salt content. When purchased locally we also do not have to look overseas for warranty or help, and I am sure an American company cares more than foreign about its reputation and legal liability insurance, as any builder and wants to stay in business….I found Ron to be straight forward, down to earth honest, of integrity trying to produce a quality product. Not as much of an impact to foreign company’s when things go south at the build. The design-manufacturing makes sense, even with small amounts of controversial EPS filler. I understand the proprietary nature of the percentages and constituents, it is no different than drywall and other boards that can vary in fillers, gypsum, binders, and after all he worked and paid the price for over a decade of R&D to develop a fully tested design. If I were him I would not just give it all away for someone to duplicate and cash in on. Everyone has to bring the bread and butter home.

I look forward to getting some samples that are on the way, testing, and working with Ron to get some of these boards in my homes. I decided to back out of China supply chains. Drywall, cement, boards all have issues we can only hope and be supportive to these boards solving. From what I heard, some big fish manufactures with deep pockets are beginning to look at MGO. America’s future for it is looking bright.

In the mean time, the soap box between China and American MGO continues is very interesting and entertaining. Some of it gets very funny! Reminds me of American vs European hemp now that America can grow it legally in some states.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Terry,

Good to read you are in dialogue with Ron over his product and will be testing it out. I think, in the long run, that he could be a better source for these types of materials. I do still have very strong reservations about lack of third party testing for percentages of materials in his boards (no need to divulge formulation or manufacture process details...that I agree with.) I also cannot support a material that has any percentage of EPS foams in them at this time, as there are just to many "natural alternatives." The other big plus with Ron, and why he is at the top of my list, is his willingness to do productions runs of boards without this material in it. This flexibility, tells me that if he continues to be successful in his current pursuits, there may be room for other "brand runs" of a more natural formulation. All in all, very positive. I look forward to more information from you about his products and your determinations.

Regards,

j
 
Terry Ruth
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Jay, the chemistry is very complex. I think he is using the EPS to control the issues with the reactions with mag and other constituents like chem treated steel fasteners. It in the assemble is also being used structurally like a ball bearings to give it more flex modulus or deflection before cracking in tension surface stress resulting from bending or flex. Not always easy to combine material properties and control the outcome with composites. If I were him I'd stick with what he has that works EPS or not, after all at the end of the day he takes the liability hit if it fails. Also, if you take a look at the gypsum or concrete boards, some even claiming "natural" bio-boards we may be surprised at some of the fillers found. The ONLY way around any of this is be the manufacture, do the R&D take the cost and legal risk or take samples to a local lab for testing and pay for it, which most natural site manufactures fail to do. Many do not structure or test for microbials like they should. I may end up there with a simple plaster but I will get it tested. I don't feel MGO board has to pass anymore striker requirements than any of the others just because it is new to America as in manufactured here. Many standards, ASTM, ISO, even third party verified unless as I described above (which the majority are not) are a complete joke! Who knows whom is paying for or providing sales kick backs as many in this business are. Many natural materials, and I used hemp as an example, are shipped here from Europe and I know for a fact we in America don't get the cream of the crop. So I am glad Ron has taken on the challenge and I know you are too. It is definitely a step in the right directions, based on the majority of the material he uses are all natural. Small EPS filler means nothing in the big picture and I have set to see consistent dataset on it's toxicity. I do not support high levels tho as in EPS boards. You know me it will never go in my homes nor will on take on the liability for it if I don't think t will pass the test of time and breathability. It will have to take mineral paints and fasteners well and from I understand it does. We'll see.
 
Kris Arbanas
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When I spoke with Ron, he said he added EPS for cost and weight. Personally, I would rather pay more a pure mag board. He also adds fiberglass. I guess it makes it more appealing to people who want an affordable and somewhat natural material. He wouldn't tell me the % of EPS he uses unfortunately but I imagine it is a lot since he says his boards are 50% lighter than a typical mag board.
 
Terry Ruth
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There is competition in the market and you never know who is out here trying to make other products better or worse then they really are. I'm not part of the MGO industry yet in my homes anyway. I suggest as I said earlier, if the info being posted is not from a person that has a direct role or knowledge of the products (there are many in this case and most composites) then there is a 99% chance the assumptions are inaccurate. There is ALOT of bad info on this thread and there are professionals including chemist that have read it that refuse to debate it with non-industry professionals.

The weight or density has to do in part with the type of burnt MGO binder, reactors; chlorides, phosphates, whether they are "light burtn" MGO or "Dead" (Heavy).....Ron is using a light so it's strength-to-weight ratio is better, he does need as much and light & high strength is beneficial to building loads that can cause additional structure (primarily foundation and wall sizing) to be manufactured and used, and it does not have as high a carbon foot as high as China's dead. Again, I'm no MGO chemist or manufacture but I do have ALOT of experience manufacturing and analyzing composites, but that is the way the chem part was explained to me by one that is VERY credible and does the mining. Ron has a network of professionals surrounding him, has for over a decade, he is not a Chemist or Engineer from what I understand, he is a manufacturer with alot on his plate to get the build right as lean and cost effective to market as possible, than also takes lead times down. To have a complete understanding of all the mechanical and physical properties of any composite material assemble takes large R&D money, so the MAJORITY of this industry puts products out to feild testing to avoid the cost and long pay-back period which can be calculated on a production unit basis. We do this everyday but the ones paying me and my kind have VERY deep pockets, big fish.

I helped explain the role of EPS in this assemble to Ron and more so above the more I thought about it as I see it based on my experience. Even if it is high it is better then the bad reactions China is getting from their MGO from large quantities of salts I'll take EPS any day of the week over. People that do not understand getting a product out to market at a competitive cost should try it, then try and sell it to people that have no idea what to compare as in this thread. I been involved with many cost trade studies, the R&D cost can be very high for a Design Engineer to develop many designs to manufacture compare, it's called design-to-cost as in recurring manufacturing cost. What is really easy is to get on the internet and suggest other materials without the proper design and manufacturing background. I'll take the EPS over boards that fall apart in weeks and pollute this planet, I'll take small EPS beads over paper faced various junk grades of gypsum/fillers in drywall. The EPS will also provide some r-value, flex, I see it as more than a dummy filler. My installers will appreciate boards that are 45-lbs vs 80-90, does not have to be carried vertically since it is flexible along it's spans and won't crack or fall apart in the back of a truck or shipping container.

The fiberglass he uses is better then the thin scrim cloth found in China's. That is important the two continuous layers will do alot to resist cracking other boards don't have and will allow for easier passing of code structural components by dropping off additonal layers such as sheathing and backerboards, just like concrete reinforcements does when placed close to the tension surfaces. The glass and eps fibers will help take loads along more than 2 axis in 3d. The only downside I see to large doses depending on what weight per volume is considered "large" of EPS is low permeability that I have yet to see. Of course, he has more than EPS and light burnt MGO in his boards and unless someone knows they exact volumetric weights there is no need to second guess performance or embodied energy based on limited conversations with the manufacture as above. Do the math then post it, I can tell you the mechanical properties will be higher than OSB, plywood, drywall, cement boards, my guess is since the boards are locally sourced the embodied energy is lower than China, and we should support our local economies since America does need the work.
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