Lightweight marble is a special composite material consisting of natural stone and Honeycomb – aluminum cells inside an impregnated glass fabric. Its composition makes it extremely versatile and without many limitations of use, especially compared to traditional marble.
Here, the beauty of marble becomes light and all the elegance and strength of marble remains intact, but with 70% less weight.
In this article we will take a closer look at its characteristics, the advantages it offers and how to use it.
What is lightened marble
Since weight is often a determining factor when choosing building materials – both in furniture and architecture – various techniques for lightening marble have been developed in recent years. One of these is the coupling of marble slabs with aluminum honeycomb panels.
Lightened marble consists of a marble slab of very low or low thickness – down to a minimum of 3 mm – that is coupled with closed-cell supports or an aluminum structural support – derived from aeronautical technology.
This particular composition is able to reduce the weight of the slab while maintaining – sometimes even increasing – the typical physical properties of marble:
- greater resistance to compression and bending;
- weight reduction of up to 70%
As the sheet reaches its minimum thickness, it becomes lighter and also more fragile. This is why it is coupled with a honeycomb panel. On the back of the sheet, a rigid honeycomb panel, generally made of aluminum – due to its lightness – is applied, which significantly increases the strength of the finished product.
Polypropylene panels also have a honeycomb structure and manage to maintain the same lightweight characteristics as aluminum. The advantage is that these are backlit.
In addition, polyurethane foams can have different densities, combining the characteristic of lightness with the possibility of creating panels with high thicknesses on which holes can subsequently be drilled for any fastening system.
The characteristics of compressive strength, rigidity and lightness make lightweight marble particularly suitable for use in the naval and aeronautical sectors.
Lightweight marble: advantages
Thanks to its special characteristics, lightweight marble is a very versatile material that offers the possibility of using stone even in architectural contexts that require the use of lighter materials. Furthermore, such a pre-assembled material can facilitate its installation thanks to the presence of anchoring systems, hinges and holes. An example of this is the lightweight, thin marble slabs that have been used for the exterior cladding of buildings with large façades.
Thanks to this technology, the weight of the marble monoliths is reduced by approximately 70 per cent. This has a considerable impact on several factors, both practical and economic:
- easier assembly and transport, resulting in lower costs;
- reduced risk of marble breaking during positioning due to easier handling;
- possibility of using a less massive and much lighter support structure. This advantage makes it possible to install most products made of lightweight marble even on traditional furniture and tops – even on a glass top!
How to use lightweight marble
With a few rare exceptions, lightweight marble can find the same uses as traditional marble.
Thanks to its flexibility, superior impact resistance, easy installation and lightness, lightweight marble panels are especially suitable for all those cases where weight reduction is an absolute priority.
Lightened marble is mainly used in sectors that can justify the investment in such complex processing:
- Aeronautical sector;
- Lift cladding;
- Furniture cladding;
- Naval sector (yachts);
- Furniture cladding.
Today, lightened marble represents a solution that offers the particularity of the finest natural stones on surfaces that could not normally support their weight, without ever compromising marble’s typical characteristics of elegance and uniqueness.