European Journal of Scientific Research ISSN 1450-216X Vol.26 No.3 (2009), pp.386-392 © EuroJournals Publishing, Inc.


Production of Fire–Clay Refractory Bricks from Local Materials
Mazen N. Al-Amaireh Tafila Technical University, P.O. Box. 179, Tafila 66110, Jordan E-mail: Tel: +962.3.2250326; Fax: +962.3.2250431 Abstract Fire–clay bricks are by the far the largest group of refractory used in industry. Until this time Jordan and the neighboring countries have not so far taken up the production of refractory. This work research was carried out to investigate the suitability of kaolinite clay for production of fire–clay bricks. Preliminary test had been done to determine the physical properties, chemical and mineralogical constituent of raw materials using X–Ray diffraction and chemical analysis. The softening point was obtained using Seger cones. By preburning the clay into (grog) which was then mixed with plastic binder clay, it was possible to produce a plasticity sufficiently to permit the manufacture of refractory bricks, which were dimensionally accurate and free from cracks and other deficiency. The plastic clay was burnt at 1450 oC to obtain chamotte grog and then crushed, grinded and divided into three groups with different grain size and then combined with binding clay in the range of 50/50, 40/60 and 30/70 plastic (clay/chamotte). The samples were prepared by semi-dry method. After drying the samples were burnt at 1250, 1300, 1350, 1400 and 1450 oC The fired bricks were investigated for their physical properties. Using the above mentioned raw materials, it is possible to produce a chamotte refractory bricks in the medium heat duty range with an alumina content of 37%.

The most common raw material for the manufacture of fire-clay bricks (chamotte refractory bricks) is clay, clay is a sedimentary material consisting of fire particles (under 2 microns in diameter) of crystallized aluminum hydro-silicates with a layer structure. The most important clay mineral for use in refractory is kaolinite. Fire clay is non-white burning clay, which is free from fluxes such as larger quantities of Iron, alkaline earth, alkalis and excess silica. Its main constituents are minerals of the kaoline group. A clay article does not develop its full strength until it has vitrified. The vitrification range starts at about 900 oC and extends up to the highest temperature the clay can without melting, Depending upon the kind of clay minerals and the impurities present the upper temperature limit of the vitrification ranges may vary from below 1000 oC to over 1500ºC. During the vitrification period the porosity of the mass decreases and its strength and hardness increases.

1) is based on that published by Bowen and Greig [1]. in mixes containing more than 5. 2SiO2 .1). . Thus. If the alumina content exceeds that of the eutectic point mixtures of increasing refractoriness can be prepared by raising the content of alumina in the mix. The diagram shown in (Fig. an aluminum silicate of the formula 3Al2O3.Production of Fire–Clay Refractory Bricks from Local Materials 387 The most important equilibrium diagram for the clay technologist is that of the binary system SiO2 − Al2O3 (Fig. corundum ( Al2O3 ). and mullite.5% alumina SiO2 acts as a flux and reduces the softening point of the mixture. The use of grog reduces the drying and firing shrinkage and makes it possible to dry the bricks quickly and without deformation of damages. The grog consists of calcined koalinite. These are cristabalite a high temperature form of silica. calcined bauxite or other suitable non-plastic high temperature materials. calcined kayanite (sillimantegroup). There are three stable crystalline compounds in the system. It embraces the melting behavior of clay and of clay-silica mixes and indicates the reactions taking place during firing. Fire clay bricks (chamotte bricks) are produced by mixing crushed grog with sufficient binder clay to produce a mass which can be molded into bricks and which will retain their shape during subsequent drying and burning. Figure 1: Two-Component SiO2 − Al2O3 System S102 0% 100% AL2O3 100% 0% Only the portion above 1400ºC is reproduced.

388 Mazen N. Apart from the chemical analysis the burning characteristics of clays depend greatly upon the mineralogical composition which is usually determined by means of XRD.4 Indicated Limits for Suitable Fire Clays 25 – 45% up to 4% Not more than 2. a thorough investigation of the clay raw material was indicated.0 57. Composition Weight Percent (%) 37. which was the upper temperature limit of the instrument.8 1.7 0. (2). Al-Amaireh Experimental Part As a basis for the experiments to be conducted. The peaks indicate the presence of quarts and kaolinite. The diagram XRD is given in fig. Our Clay with a Al2O3 +TiO2 content of 38.6 1. Information about physical properties and chemical composition of the clay provide important clues for the proper planning of the experimental programmed .45 0. . The heating microscope permits the observation of changes in shape and dimension of sample during heating.5% Not more than 1% Not more than 3% Al2O3 SiO2 TiO2 Fe2O3 CaO K 2O Another important property is the softening point of clay during heating.6% had a PCE of SK 30/31 (1680–1695 oC ) The softening point was also determined in the heating microscope using an instrument from leitz (wezlar). Figure 2: X-Ray diagram characteristics of clays burning A quantitative evaluation of peak intensities showed that the sample consisted of about 86s% kaolinite and 14% quartz. Observations were carried out to a temperature of 1500 oC .Table (1) shows the chemical analysis of the clay used in our work. Table 1: Chemical analysis of the clay.

Burning time was 24 hours (at 1450 oC ). The results are given in the graphs in Fig. 1400 and 1450 oC . The amount of water depends on the amount of plastic clay used as binder. 70/30. and 80/20 chamotte / plastic clay. 1350. porosity. Discussion of Results Influence of mix ratio between chamotte and Binder clay on the physical properties of fire clay bricks. In the range of binder contents between 30% and 50% the specimens showed practically the same properties as far as porosity. (3) showing bulk density.2 mm The grinded chamotte fractions were mixed and then combined with an optimum quantity of binder clay. The addition of water to the clay mix is important for the forming process. in range 50/50. . Grinded chamotte is usually divided into three fractions: Coarse from 1 to 6 mm Medium from 0. It was ranged between 6 to 9%. For molding into bricks the chamotte pieces must be crushed and grinded. bulk density.Production of Fire–Clay Refractory Bricks from Local Materials 389 As mentioned. A series of tests was run in order to determine the optimum range of binder clay addition to the grog. 1300. plastic clay was used for both the preparations of the chamotte and as a blinder. The green samples were prepared by the semi-dry method using a hydraulic press and molding pressure of 50 N / mm 2 . The samples had cylindrical shape (50mm diameters and 50 mm high) for testing according to DIN. as determined by water absorption and compressive strength as a function of the chamotte-binder clay ratio.2 to 1 mm Fine from 0 to 0. bulk density and compressive strength are concerned. and resistance to temperature changes and compressive strength at room temperature. The fired bricks were investigated to their important properties such as specific gravity. After molding and drying the bricks were burned at 1250. In our investigation the plastic clay was burnt at 1450 oC to obtain chamotte.

resulting in lower bulk densities and compressive strength figures. porosity and compressive strength is illustrated in Fig. (3).390 Mazen N. Maximum densities and minimum porosities are achieved at firing temperature at 1400 strength e Percent by volum Porosity . Al-Amaireh Figure 3: Influence of Chamotte Binder Ratio on the Physical Propertes of Fire Bricks. Influence of Firing Temperature on the Physical Properties of Fire Clay Bricks The influence of firing temperature on the bulk density. y C pressive om If the binder clay content in the mix drops below 30% porosity increases rapidly. This explains the observed drop in bulk density and compressive strength. At this binder level the clay phase is no longer able to fill the voids between the grog particles.

7% 3 Physical Properties SK (seges cone) SP. using binder clay contents of 30% and 70% and firing temperature of 1400 oC .dry pressed bricks should have a bulk density of about 2.Production of Fire–Clay Refractory Bricks from Local Materials o 391 C .6 N / mm > 20 cycle 2 . 1.8. However.2 g / cm 3 . Specimens prepared from mixes with binder clay contents of the 30% have a lower porosity at the firing temperature (below 1300 oC ) the specimens with a 50% binder clay level.2 g / cm 3 15-25% > 20 N / mm > 15 cycle 2 30.15 g / cm 14. On our specimens specific gravity averaged 2. Consequently.5 Bricks Produced in our Work 31 (1695) C 2. to a certain extent it is also related to the mineral composition of the bricks as outlined below: On our specimens the bulk density γ was as follows: Binder clay content 30%.65 2. In general it may be concluded that an optimum firing temperature of 1400 oC is recommended for the production of fire clay bricks from the raw materials investigated. Compressive strength shows a slight drop if the firing temperature exceeds 1400 oC .13 g / cm 3 Depending on mineral composition the specific gravity of chamotte bricks varies between 2. The results agree well with the requirements specified by the international literatures. this section will deal with the physical properties of specimens prepared with grog mix. Table 2: Physical properties of fire-clay bricks produced in the present work. Bulk Density and Specific Gravity Bulk density of refractory bricks is a function of the method of manufacture. According to the DIN. Typical Properties from International Test 32 min (1710) 25-2. Optimum conditions were selected regarding highest density and compressive strength.5 and 2. Physical Properties of Chamotte Bricks In this section the physical properties of fire clay bricks are discussed when they are produced at optimum firing temperatures and at optimum mix compositions.γ = 2. Bulk density varies primarily with the volume concentration of the open and close pore space. However porosities are nearly identical when a firing temperature of 1400 oC is reached.652 g / cm 3 which is well in line with the requirements specified in the DIN standard (1068).15 g / cm 3 Binder clay content 50%. The specific gravity of bricks increases with increasing quantities of mullite and indirectly with rising Al2 O3 content in the raw materials. Firing beyond this temperature does not change these properties substantially. 2.Standard semi. γ = 2. Gravity Bulk density Total porosity Compressive strength Thermal shock resistance o ≅ 2. The results of physical properties of fire clay bricks in which are reproduced at optimum firing temperature (1400 o C ) and at optimum mix composition of (plastic clay/ grog 30/70) are illustrated in table (2).

2.5-6. 4. Fourfestkunde. 3.0mm 50%. and H. Improvement in the quality of refectory materials.AL2 O3 refractory. Builetin. In the preparation of the grog. 6. 8. vol 119. 1983. N. 1960. medium: 1-2. Optimum performance was obtained when using mixtures of chamotte binder clay ratio of 70/30 and water content between 7 and 9%. Vol. The recommended process for molding of the bricks is the semi-dry process. DIN-Standard (1068). Al-Amaireh The clay can be used for the preparation of grog (chamotte) and as binder clay. physicalische and chemische untersuchungsverfahren in der grobkeramik. Best performance was obtained with a grog mix of the following granulometric composition: fine: 0 -1. 5. . Effect of temperature and stressing rate on factor strength of high. Galdina. Springer Veslag. the clay is calined at 1450 oC .A Landy. 7-8 (439-442). 1986. Schmidt-Reinholz Ch. 7. Daroudi and R. Conclusion 1.0mm 30%.5mm 20% and coarse: 2. Berlin. Optimum firing temperature is determined to be 1400 oC . 1:14-18. References [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] Harders and kinov. No. Schmitz. After firing the grog was crushed and classified. 66 No 7:1139-1143. Glas and ceramics. 1987. the American Ceramic Society. Suitable compaction was achieved by molding at a pressure of 50 N / mm 2 .392 Mazen N.

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