Mineral wool made from basalt fibers is frequently used as an insulating material in construction systems. In this study, both unused mineral wool and wool obtained from the softened roofing area were comprehensively analyzed in a laboratory using different characterization techniques. Firstly, the initial water content and compressive strength at 10% deformation were determined. Secondly, microstructure and surface chemical composition were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) equipped with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). To study heterogeneities near the fiber surface and to examine cross-sectional composition, a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) was used. Finally, to verify possible reasons for resin degradation, thermogravimetric analysis and differential scanning colometry (TGA-DSC) were simultaneously carried out. The results show that natural aging under high humidity and thermal fluctuations greatly affected the surface morphology and chemical composition of the fibrous composite. Phenol-formaldehyde and other hydrophobic compounds that protect fibers against moisture and give compressive resistance were found to be degraded.
Keywords: SEM-EDX; STEM; basalt fibers; compressive strength; degradation; mineral wool; moisture effect; roofing; thermal stability.