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What is Plaster of Paris and How to Make it at Home?

By: Haseeb Jamal / On: Jun 17, 2017 / Definition, How To
What is Plaster of Paris

Plaster of Paris Recipe

Plaster of Paris is a Calcium sulfate semi-hydrate (CaSO4,½ H2O) derived from Gypsum, a calcium sulfate di-hydrate (CaSO4, 2H2O), by firing this mineral at relatively low temperature and thus reducing it to powder.

CaSO4,  2H2O  + HEAT -------> CaSO4, 1/2 H2O  + 1.5 H2O

In 1700’s, Paris was already the “Capital of plaster” since all the walls of wooden houses were covered with plaster, as a protection against fire. The King of France enforced rule after the big fire in England 1666.

Large Gypsum deposits near Paris ► Mined ► Manufacture of Plaster of Paris

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Items Needed

(Apparatus) to make plaster of Paris with glue

  • 2 parts Diluted White Glue
  • 1 part Warm Water 
  • Large Mixing Bowl
  • Spatula or Wooden Spoon

Instructions and procedure

  • Gather all the materials and spread a sheet on the work surface.
  • Now, pour the glue in the large mixing bowl and beat it well.
  • Make a paste, by adding one part warm water to two parts of white glue.
  • Mix the ingredients well. Continue stirring them, until there no visible lumps remain.
  • If you do not get a soupy mixture, you can add more water to the bowl and mix well.
  • The final product should be watery, but with a slight white glue consistency.

Properties of Plaster of Paris

  • It is fine hygroscopic white powder
  • Its melting point is 1630C
  • Its density is 2.63 g/cm3
  • It sets quickly on mixing with water giving out heat
  • Expands slightly on setting

Uses of Plaster of Paris

  • Because of its property of slight expansion on setting, it is used for filling cracks and holes in plaster
  • It is also used for filling cracks and knots in wooden surface before painting polishing
  • Plaster of Paris is used in making surgical bandages where movable parts of the body are to be held rigidly in place
  • It is used in chalk
  • As plaster of Paris has high melting point, it is used for plastering the walls of wooden houses, such as a protection against fire
  • It is used for making models and statues

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