A number of types of gypsum products are in use all over the world. In fact, humans have been utilizing this mineral for centuries, primarily in construction, and it has a number of uses which are sometimes surprising to learn about. A variety of products feature gypsum as a major ingredient, and many others involve gypsum in their manufacture; while the mineral may not be readily identifiable, it can be an important part of the product.
The most famous group of gypsum products is probably plasters. Plaster of Paris is traditionally made with gypsum, and gypsum is also used to make alabaster and an assortment of other plasters used in art and in the creation of molds. Gypsum plasters are also used in texturing; for example, gypsum products can be run through a spray gun to create a textured wall or ceiling. Many building plasters contain gypsum, including compounds used to prepare walls for painting.
Other gypsum products used in construction include joint compounds and plasters used as backings during the installation of products such as tile. Finer gypsum plasters can also be used to make decorative molding. Wallboard, also known as gypsum board, Sheetrock, or drywall, also contains gypsum. This product can be treated to resist moisture, mold, and fungi, and is available in a range of sizes and thicknesses for different applications.
Some gypsum products are used in the agricultural setting. Gypsum can be added to dense clay soils to loosen them up, acting as a soil conditioner which will allow crops to thrive, and gypsum is also used in the manufacture of fertilizer. Gypsum is also added to cement to slow the speed at which it sets, and it can be utilized as a binder in some other products.
Blackboard chalk is another example of a gypsum product; in this case, the gypsum may be dyed to produce various colors as needed. Gypsum is also used in food production. Food grade gypsum products can be used as binders in products like tofu, or in the filtering process of foods such as mead.
Companies which specialize in gypsum products tend to focus on a particular area of interest, such as products for the construction trade or products designed to be used by artists. However, some may be willing to work on custom projects by request, and all can offer referrals to companies which might better suit the needs of a particular project if they feel that their product line will not work.