Calcined Gypsum is a building material used for the protective and/or decorative coating of walls and ceilings and for moulding and casting decorative elements. It also has medical applications.
Used in construction and medicine.
- Plaster is widely used as a support for broken bones; a bandage impregnated with plaster is moistened and then wrapped around the damaged limb, setting into a close-fitting yet easily removed tube, known as an orthopedic cast.
- Plaster is also used in preparation for radiotherapy when fabricating individualized immobilization shells for patients. Plaster bandages are used to construct an impression of a patient’s head and neck, and liquid plaster is used to fill the impression and produce a plaster bust. The transparent material polymethyl methacrylate (Plexiglas, Perspex) is then vacuum formed over this bust to create a clear face mask which will hold the patient’s head steady while radiation is being delivered.
- In dentistry, plaster is used for mounting casts or models of oral tissues. These diagnostic and working models are usually made from dental stone, a stronger, harder and denser derivative of plaster which is manufactured from gypsum under pressure. Plaster is also used to invest and flask wax dentures, the wax being subsequently removed by “burning out,” and replaced with flowable denture base material. The typically acrylic denture base then cures in the plaster investment mold. Plaster investments can withstand the high heat and pressure needed to ensure a rigid denture base. Moreover, in dentistry there are 5 types of gypsum products depending on their consistency and uses: 1) impression plaster (type 1), 2) model plaster (type 2), dental stones (types 3, 4 and 5)
- In orthotics and prosthetics, plaster bandages traditionally were used to create impressions of the patient’s limb (or residuum). This negative impression was then, itself, filled with plaster of Paris, to create a positive model of the limb and used in fabricating the final medial device.
- In addition, dentures (false teeth) are made by first taking a dental impression using a soft, pliable material that can be removed from around the teeth and gums without loss of fidelity and using the impression to creating a wax model of the teeth and gums. The model is used to create a plaster mold (which is heated so the wax melts and flows out) and the denture materials are injected into the mold. After a curing period, the mold is opened and the dentures are cleaned up and polished.
- The chemical reaction that occurs when plaster is mixed with water is exothermic. When plaster sets, it can reach temperatures of more than 60 °C and, in large volumes, can burn the skin. In January 2007, a secondary school student in Lincolnshire, England sustained third-degree burns after encasing her hands in a bucket of plaster as part of a school art project. The burns were so severe she required amputation of both her thumbs and six of her fingers.
- Some variations of plaster that contain powdered silica or asbestos may present health hazards if inhaled. Asbestos is a known irritant when inhaled and can cause cancer, especially in people who smoke, and inhalation can also cause asbestosis. Inhaled silica can cause silicosis and (in very rare cases) can encourage the development of cancer. Persons working regularly with plaster containing these additives should take precautions to avoid inhaling powdered plaster, cured or uncured. (Note that asbestos is rarely used in modern plaster formulations because of its carcinogenic effects.)
- People can be exposed to plaster of Paris in the workplace by breathing it in, swallowing it, skin contact, and eye contact. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set the legal limit (permissible exposure limit) for plaster of Paris exposure in the workplace as 15 mg/m3 total exposure and 5 mg/m3respiratory exposure over an 8-hour workday. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has set a Recommended exposure limit (REL) of 10 mg/m3 total exposure and 5 mg/m3 respiratory exposure over an 8-hour workday
Source: Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaster#Medicine