Magnesium oxychloride boards: understanding a novel building material

Timothy Aiken, Mark Russell, Daniel McPolin, Leo Bagnall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
320 Downloads (Pure)


Magnesium oxide type building boards are a relatively new alternative to traditional sheeting materials such as plywood, gypsum plasterboard and fibre-cement board. They have many advantages; strength, lightweight, ease of use and excellent fire resistance, which has become increasingly important as demanded by industry and required by more stringent legislation. Recently cases of durability issues associated with magnesium oxychloride boards in Denmark have emerged, however the precise nature of the problem was not established. These issues have been related to magnesium oxychloride boards which were exposed to high levels of moisture. In this paper the mechanism of the failures observed in Denmark has been investigated. The difference in quality between various magnesium oxychloride boards available in the market was also studied. It was found that there are significant differences, both physically and chemically, between magnesium oxychloride boards supplied from different manufacturers. Crucially, the performance of each board when exposed to high levels of relative humidity was vastly different. Some of the boards investigated displayed behaviour similar to that observed in Denmark, whilst other boards exhibited substantial resistance to humid environments and had not deteriorated after 60 weeks of exposure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number118
JournalMaterials and Structures
Publication statusPublished - 03 Sep 2020


  • Magnesium board
  • Magnesium oxychoride cement
  • Humidity
  • water absorption
  • Permeability


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