Traditional roofing materials, such as asphalt tiles, present particular challenges as they are exposed to the elements and are allowed to age. In practice, these types of roofing materials cannot stand the test of time and must be replaced more frequently than expected.
However, an opportunity exists to develop an affordable, basalt fiber-based roofing material which could replace the asphalt tile. Basalt, the most common volcanic rock on earth, is found in exceptionally sized deposits, some of which are in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, making it a readily available material. In addition to its abundance in the immediate area, basalt is desirable due to its high melting temperature, high strength, good insulation properties, and relatively light weight.
Currently, the Basalt Fiber Roofing team is developing a prototyping method with hopes of producing a roofing tile using vacuum bag molding technology. They are simultaneously continuing their research into materials and methods to produce additional prototypes. Their hope is to create a variety of basalt fiber tile prototypes with a variety of bonding agents and fillers. The team will be testing their prototypes against industry standards for commercialization.
This project will allow the student team a chance to research and test different materials for a product that could change the roofing industry. They will gain experience in creating a new material, while being conscious of cost and safety. This project will also allow students to become familiar with product development, prototype creation, critical decision making, and prototype testing.
Team Lead - Suzannah Lenz
Hi, my name is Suzannah Lenz and I am a 4th year Chemical Engineering student hailing from Hastings, Michigan. Beyond Consumer Product Manufacturing Enterprise, I currently serve as the president of Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honors Society and work as an academic success coach for the Waino Wahtera Center for Student Success. In my free time I enjoy being outdoors - hiking, kayaking, and camping are some of my favorite things to do. I also enjoy travelling, reading, cooking, and spending time with friends. This semester our team is excited to launch the Basalt Fiber Roofing Project and begin the product development process!