Cladding 'Stones' Made With Plastic

(MENAFN- The Post)

ROMA – LINTLE Mafa, a Chemistry Technician at the National University of Lesotho (NUL), has developed some luxury lightweight cladding that looks like natural stones.

“The cladding“stones” are made from a variety of materials including plastic, cement-like materials and foam,” Mafa said.

They are lightweight and low-cost but strong and easy to handle.

Mafa is calling investors who are willing to provide space and or funding to help take this product to the market.

When he came to the NUL as a technician in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Mafa didn't know what to expect.

He had no clue some of the most exciting moments would be in his dealings with Chemical Technology students.

He had always loved to be hands-on. That is why he is best known off-duty as a carpenter who produces elegant furniture.

But somewhere in 2010, he made contact with one lecturer who was teaching Plastic Science and Engineering at the NUL.

“Because I was required to assist his students in the labs, I enrolled for two courses” he said.

First, he went for a Plastic Technology course in Cape Town.

Before then, he was mostly dealing with chemistry but all of a sudden, a whole new world was opening in front of him.

The university would later send him to yet another Plastic and Composites Molding course in Johannesburg.

From these two experiences, he felt empowered to assist Professor Timothy Thamae's students in a variety of research projects.

But then, his partnership with the lecturer did not end with helping students.

“We experimented with all kinds of things in a small room we used to call TIG.”

Mafa said he particularly fell in love with application of plastics in the Art and Science of Wall Covering, especially in the use of cladding materials.

As a person who produces furniture, the area of interior design has always appealed to him. Specifically, cladding captured his imagination.

So on his own, he started improving his skills and experiments in that area. His ability to chisel wood for making furniture came handy when he now had to make cladding stones.

He didn't just want to make another cladding stone. He went for elegance.

The problem with modern interior cladding is that it is still tied to stones, ceramics, cement and so on.

Those things have one thing in common. They are heavy! He went for something different – lightweight cladding.

“You won't believe it but about 95 percent volume of my cladding“stones” is lightweight foam,” he revealed.

Well, foam is a material similar to that used in foam packs—those white plastic plates used for carrying foods at events.

However, unlike foam packs, this particular foam is not only light but it is also strong and stiff (rigid).

Stiff means it is hard to bend. The“stones” are then coated with a hard cement-like material to protect and give them a desired shape.

All this process uses silicone technology.

This technology makes it possible for him to copy and reproduce natural or artificial stones into“stones” that look similar but are made of different materials.

Another good thing about this cladding is colour and texture. Since texture is provided by moulding rather than machining, there are no limits to the kind of texture you can provide on this material.

For instance, he made it possible for these materials to look like curved natural stones. However, he could have made them to have any texture of choice. Even more important is the colour.

Those who work with interior design know a thing or two about colour. The desired colour is one of the most difficult things to achieve. The problem with colour is not only in the colour itself but how that colour appears to the human eye.

Is it black or charcoal? Is it shiny or matt? Having realised that the modern trend is to move away from shininess to matt, Mafa went for matt.

“Bear in mind that this could be a matt of any colour of choice from white to black to anything in between.”

Now, Mafa is ready for a deal. If you have a space and/or funding for investment, he is ready to talk so that these products can get into the market.

Own Correspondent


The Post

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