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Brick Clay

Brick Clay

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Published by Mahmood Mufti

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Published by: Mahmood Mufti on Dec 04, 2011
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08/08/2013

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J Pak Mater Soc 2008; 2 (1)
33
Phase and Microstructure of Brick-Clay Soil and Fired Clay-BricksFrom Some Areas in Peshawar Pakistan
Safeer Ahmad
1
, Yaseen Iqbal
2
, Fazal Ghani
3
 
1. Department of Physics, Islamia College University, Peshawar Pakistan2. Department of Physics, University of Peshawar, Pakistan3. Department of Prosthodontics, Khyber College of Dentistry, Peshawar (Pakistan).
Corresponding Author:
 
Safeer Ahmad, Lecturer, Department of Physics, Islamia College University, Peshawar (Pakistan).Tel: 0092 – (091) 9216513 Cell: 0092 0 (0333) 9119526 Email: safeer_ahmad13@yahoo.com
ABSTRACT
Objectives:
Bricks being the most frequently used product in the local construction industry. However,there has been very little or no relevant information about the manufacturing standards and quality of locally-made bricks as compared to that in developed countries. It is the aim of this study to provide someinformation about the local raw brick-materials as well as of the bricks manufactured from these.
Materials and Methods:
Samples of 
 
soil and bricks were collected from two representative kilns of district Peshawar (Pakistan). Fine powders of both of these were obtained by manual triturating in a pestle and mortar system. XRD was performed for phase analysis using powder X Ray Diffractometry (JEOL, JDX 3500) system. SEM studies for micro-structural analysis of brick samples (4x4x4 mm
3
 ) werealso carried out using a JSM-5910 JEOL SEM. For SEM, samples were fine polished with a twin prep 3
TM 
 grinding polishing machine. The smooth polished surfaces were chemically etched with 5% HF solutionfor one minute. Finally, the samples were mounted onto stubs with silver paint and gold coated in order toavoid charging in the SEM.
Results:
 X-ray diffraction revealed that raw brick soils in use by the local brick-industry comprised  predominantly of quartz, albite and chlorite along-with illite, melilite, calcite and orthoclase. In the processed brick-samples, mullite and cristobalite were not observed in SEM indicating the use of a low-firing temperature (~1000 
o
C) and absence of kaolinite in raw materials. Consequently, the local brick specimens were expected to be more porous and mechanically weak as compared to those fromadvanced countries. The direct naked eye examination of the sample brick had non-uniform colour and the presence of pebbles a further indication of non-professional processing of initial raw ingredients.Cracks seen in the fired brick samples were seen as further indication of improper heat-treatment and  processing. SEM EDS of brick-samples showing the presence of iron was seen as the cause of red colour in the brick.
Conclusions:
The use of 
 
low-temperature firing cycle, rapid cooling, and absence of kaolinite in raw materials were seen as the main factors leading to bricks with compromised quality.
INTRODUCTION
Brick is a ceramic material mainly used inconstruction industry. Its production processinvolves forming of clay into rectangular blocksof standard size, followed by firing totemperatures ranging from 900 to 1200°C
1
. It ismade of clay or shale and when given desiredshape is dried and fired into a durable ceramicproduct. Brick is one of the most importantbuilding material. Energy consumption andpollution are the two important environmentaland cost concerns related to brick industry. Areport, in 1993, showed some more than 3000brick kilns in operation in the country with anannual growth of 3 percent
2
. Old rubber, low-quality coal, wood and used-oil were reported asfuel in most brick kilns. Consumption of thesefuels, combined with inefficient combustionprocess produces large quantity of hazardousgases that threaten the environment as well asthose working in brick kilns. Since long, in fact,the brick-industry in the country has remainedmostly traditional with no importance toenhancement or standardization of physicalproperties of the final product at all. Among theproblems faced by the industry, the first andprobably the most important is the supply of reasonably priced fuel in the form of fuel woodas well as coal. A second major problem is thatthe industry is not well organized and technicallyill-prepared with very little know-how about it andfew engineers and scientists having takeninterest in this industry
2
.The history of brick industry is very old and canbe traced back to about 5000 years old
Safeer Ahmad, Yaseen Iqbal, Fazal Ghani:
Phase and Microstructure of Brick-Clay Soil…….
 
J Pak Mater Soc 2008; 2 (1)
34
Mohinjodaro civilization in Sindh (Pakistan)where fired brick had been used probably for thefirst time in human history. Despite beingamongst the oldest crafts, the quality of brickshas deteriorated over the centuries
3-4
. In spite of the technological revolutions, today’s brick isweaker and more porous than it had been in thepast in the country. This could be certainlysurprising to many in the event that in the pastseveral decades, significant advances inscientific and technological research have beenregistered, particularly in the developedcountries, with respect to low-cost constructiontechniques and building materials
5
. Bricks canbe divided into various groups on the basis of mineralogy namely, silica bricks, zirconia bricks,alumina bricks, mullite bricks, magnesite bricksand dolomite bricks
8-9
. In bricks, a balancedproportion of crystalline phases and a glassphase help in binding the whole structuretogether with the ratio of cristobalite to quartzregarded as a reliable predictor of bricksdurability
6
.Our understanding of the brick microstructure asinfluenced by the range of temperature duringfiring cycle has been enhanced by theexperimental work in this area. For example,McConvile
et al 
12
 
investigated the micro-structural evolution of various clays using XRDand TEM. They observed that the pseudo-hexagonal morphology of the kaolinite changedto pseudo-hexagonal meta-kaolin at around550
°
C with meta-kaolin broken down attemperatures >900
°
C to
 γ
-alumina-type spinaland a silica-rich phase. The spinal type phasestarted to transform into mullite at >1000
°
C. At1300
°
C, mullite increased in size to ~1
µ
m and insome regions, cristobalite formed from the silica-rich matrix
12-15
. XRD, TGA/DTA and EF-TEMstudies of clay have revealed that meta-kaolinpartially transforms to
 γ
-alumina at 920
°
C
16
. Onfurther increase in the firing temperature to>940
°
C, the crystallization of Al
2
O
3
-rich mullitebegan and excess amorphous silica wasdiscarded into the matrix
16
. Mullite begins tocrystallize at 1050
°
C and its crystal sizeincreases with increase in firing temperature
12
. Anumber of phases are usually present in firedbricks. Quartz is observed in all samples, usuallyless abundant in the brick than in the rawmaterial. Hematite is also present in all sampleswhich impart the red colour to bricks. Even inyellow bricks, the presence of Hematite isobserved though in smaller amounts
7
. Inaddition to quartz, a number of other alkalisilicate phases survive the firing cycle. In under-fired bricks, illite is the most persistent of theclay minerals
17-18
. Calcite is also foundoccasionally, but it has been thought to resultfrom the re-carbonation of lime. Cristobalite hasbeen noted as the most commonly occurringhigh temperature silica phase by some studies
19
.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Raw brick material as soil and processed brickswere collected from various places of Peshawar,Pakistan. Fine powders of the brick sampleswere obtained by triturating them in a pestle andmortar system. XRD was performed for phaseanalysis using powder X-ray Diffractometer (JEOL, JDX 3500). For micro-structural study,scanning electron microscopy (SEM) wasperformed using a JSM-5910 JEOL machine.SEM samples were prepared by cutting smallpieces (4x4x4 mm
3
). Samples were fine polishedwith a twin prep 3
TM
grinding polishing machine.The smooth polished surfaces were chemicallyetched with 5% HF solution for one minute.Finally, the samples were mounted onto stubswith silver paint and gold coated in order toavoid charging in the SEM. The experimentalwork was carried out using the equipments atthe Materials Research Laboratory and at theCentralized Resource Laboratory at theDepartment of Physics, University of Peshawar.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
 
XRD Analyses
X-ray diffraction patterns of clay soil and firedbricks are shown in Figures 1-4. The inter-planar spacing corresponding to XRD peaks observedfor clay soil samples from Khazana Villagematched with ICDD card# 50490 for quartz,ICDD card# 240027 for calcite, ICDD card#199749 for clinochlore and ICDD card# 90462for orthoclase (Figure 1). The inter-planar spacing corresponding to XRD peaks from thefired brick from the same region (Figure 3)matched with the ICDD card# 50449 for quartz,ICDD card# 20023 for chlorite and ICDD card#42136 for moissonite.Similarly the inter-planar spacing correspondingto the XRD peaks observed for raw clay soilfrom village Bahadar Kalay as shown in Figure 2matched with ICDD card# 30444 for quartz,ICDD card# 90466 for albite, ICDD card#430697 for calcite and ICDD card# 90462 for orthoclase. For fired brick the inter-planar 
Safeer Ahmad, Yaseen Iqbal, Fazal Ghani:
Phase and Microstructure of Brick-Clay Soil…….
 
J Pak Mater Soc 2008; 2 (1)
35
spacing corresponding to the XRD peaks fromVillage Bahadar Kalay as shown in Figure 4matched with ICDD card# 50490 for quartz,ICDD card# 90466 for albite and ICDD card#20023 for chlorite. In general, the phasecomposition of raw brick clays and fired bricksare complex due to use of highly impure soil,however, the major phases found in the raw soilmaterials included quartz, calcite, chlorite, andalbite which again varied from region to regionwithin the same district.
500100015002000250030005152535455565
QOQCaOUCaCCaOU
2
θ
 
QOClU Q------------------- Quartz Low(50490)C------------------------Calcite(240027)Ca--------------------------CaO(280775)O---------------------Orthoclase(90462)U---------------------H8Si8O20(350060)Cl-----CLINOCHLORE-2MIIB (190749)
        I      n        t      e      n      s        i        t      y
QCCaUQClQOQQOUCOUClCl
 
Figure 1:
X-Ray Diffraction of Clay Soil (Village Khazana Peshawar)
 
500150025003500510152025303540455055606570
       I     n       t     e     n     s       i       t     y
QIUBQMUAOA
 
Q---------------------Quartz (30444) A------------ Albite,ordered(90466)B-----------------------Biotite(20057)I---------------------------Illite(20056)M----------------------Melilite(40683)u---------K C10 H19 O2 (50024)C-----Calcite Magnesian(430697)O-----------------Orthoclase(80048)a-------------------Amesite(521569)
BQAOQIUMQMOAIMCB
a
BIUBAaUCOCIU
a
a
2
θ
 
Figure 2:
X-Ray Diffraction of local clay Soil (Village Bahadar Kalay, Peshawar)
Safeer Ahmad, Yaseen Iqbal, Fazal Ghani:
Phase and Microstructure of Brick-Clay Soil…….

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