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Building and Environment 41 (2006) 1274–1278

An investigation on the production of construction

brick with processed waste tea
Ismail Demir
Afyon Kocatepe University, Faculty of Technical Education, ANS Campus, 03100 Afyon,Turkey
Received 15 July 2004; accepted 5 May 2005


The main objective of this study is to investigate the utilization potential of processed waste tea (PWT) in clay brick. The effects of
processed waste tea material addition on the durability and mechanical properties of the bricks were investigated. Due to the organic
nature of PWT, pore-forming (in fired body) and binding (unfired body) ability in clay body was investigated. First, PWT material
was dispersed in water for 24 h. Afterwards, in order to get comparable results, different ratios of the waste (0, 2.5, and 5% by mass)
were added to the raw-brick clay. Test specimens were produced by the extrusion method. The samples were tested by using the
standard test methods and compared with the specifications. The compressive strength of the unfired and fired samples significantly
increased as compared to pure samples. As a result, it was concluded that PWT can be utilized in unfired and fired building bricks by
taking advantage of low cost and environmental protection.
r 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Waste tea; Clay; Brick; Recycle

1. Introduction ability bricks is increasing. Thermal conductivity is a

decisive factor for the heat-engineering concept of
Increased agricultural production and the deve- thermal insulating material.
lopment of agro-based industries in many countries One method of increasing the insulation ability of
of the world have brought about the production of brick is generating porosity in clay body. Combustible
large quantities of agricultural wastes, most of which organic types of pore-forming additives are most
are not adequately managed and utilized. Agricul- frequently used for this purpose, among this, processed
tural wastes were used for animal feed, fertilizer and waste tea (PWT) was accumulated during green tea
fuel for energy production, but little work has been processing on the plants. This type of residue is utilized
carried out to develop utilization of these wastes in for agricultural purposes or in particleboard manufac-
the production of building materials. The need to tured and other applications [4–7].
conserve traditional building materials that are facing Black tea is one of the most important industrial
depletion have obliged engineers to look for alternative plants of Turkey. In all, 552 tons of green tea were
materials [1]. raised while 94 tons of black tea were produced in 2003
Environmentally friendly, energy saving recycle prop- (Table 1) [2]; 204,112 producers have produced green tea
erty of material production has been one of the very on 76,653 hectare area in Turkey. Green tea is processed
important research fields for decades. Due to environ- to produce black dry tea on 46 plants by Caykur (public
mental regulations, the demand for high insulation tea-producing plants of Turkey).
Approximately 10% of processed green tea becomes
Tel.: +90 272 2281311; fax: +90 272 2281235. waste. The waste was separated from the production
E-mail address: process as straw, fibre and dust [3].

0360-1323/$ - see front matter r 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
I. Demir / Building and Environment 41 (2006) 1274–1278 1275

Table 1
Some statistical data on tea production between years 1998 and 2003 [2]

Some data Unit 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002

Green tea purchase Ton 717.971 843.094 499.098 546.970 552.463

Production amounts (black tea) Ton 130.405 153.228 91.373 94.749 94.231
Production productivity % 18.16 18.17 18.30 17.32 17.07

Table 2
Black tea analysis [2]

Properties (Ts 4600) ISO 3720

Total dust tea weight basis (m/m) % Max 14 14

Water extract (on dry weight basis) (m/m) Min 29 32
Total ash ratio (on dry weight basis) (m/m) % Min 4 4
Max 8 8
Water-soluble ash of total ash (m/m) % Min 45 45
Acid insoluble ash (% 10 HCl) (on dry weight basis) (m/m) % Max 1 1
Alkalinity of water-soluble ash (KOH) % Min 1 1
Max 3 3
Crude fibres (on dry weight basis) (m/m) % Max 16.5 16.5
Caffeine (on dry weight basis) (m/m) % Min 1.5 —
Dioxide parts (m/m) % Max 8 —
Colouring agents Must not be —

Waste tea has been used to produce mushroom, Production of tea in Turkey and chemical properties
organic fertilizer and particleboard, to resist biological of the PWT are shown in Tables 1 and 2, respectively. In
resistance of wood, and in other applications [4–7]. order to produce the test samples, the clay was taken
Fresh leaves contain 22.2% polyphenols, 17.2% from raw material stockpiled in the production area.
protein, 4.3% caffeine, 27% crude fibre, 0.5% starch, Chemical properties of the clay are given in Table 3. The
3.5% reducing sugars, 6.5% pectin, 2% ether extract clay is made up of very tiny particles and a few very
and 5.6% ash per 100 g; the leaf is reported to contain coarse particles, which were calcium carbonate (Fig. 1).
293 cal, 8 g H2O, 24.5 g protein, 2.8 g fat, 58.8 g total DTA-TG curves of the PWT are given in Fig. 2.
carbohydrate, 8.7 g fibre, 5.9 g ash, 327 mg Ca, 313 mg P, It is possible to explain the lines on the DTA-TG test
24.3 mg Fe, 50 mg Na, 2700 mg beta-carotene equivalent, curves (Fig. 2) as follows: (1) At the beginning, due to
0.07 mg thiamine, 0.8 mg riboflavin, 7.6 mg niacin and the loss of free water within the particles, an endother-
9 mg ascorbic acid [8]. mic curve occurs at 90–110 1C. (2) Burning begins
The main objective of this study is to investigate the at 200–250 1C. (3) Burning is speeded up at 250–320 1C.
effects of PWT addition on the properties of unfired and (4) Burning continues slowly at 320–450 1C. (5) It is
fired building bricks. completed at 500 1C. In brief, the burning time has quite
a wide scale. This factor helps the furnace procedure.

2. Materials and methods 2.2. Determination of mixture composition and

preparation of samples
In order to measure the mechanical properties and
feasibility of using recycled PWT material for brick Different amounts of PWT material containing plastic
production, the materials and methods are explained in pastes were produced to observe the moulding and
this section. drying behavior. Crack-free samples were produced up
to 5% PWT content during shaping and drying.
2.1. PWT additive and brick raw material In order to investigate the extent of the binding and
porosifying effect of PWT, various contents of the waste
PWT materials, used in the study, arise from the tea (0 control mix, 2.5% and 5% by weight) were added to
processing of the plant. Waste leaves of Camellia sinesis the raw-clay body. For this purpose, first PWT was
were obtained from the residues of black tea production dispersed in water for 24 h and then mixed with clay.
of the public tea-producing plants of Turkey (Caykur). Brick clay was passed through the drum type crusher
1276 I. Demir / Building and Environment 41 (2006) 1274–1278

Table 3
Chemical composition of the clay

Al2O3 SiO2 Na2O K2O CaO Fe2O3 MgO LOI

20.75 51.86 0.76 3.68 3.75 6.48 1.75 9.3





% Passing






0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10
Particle size (mm)

Fig. 1. Particle size distribution of the clay.

Fig. 3. Raw materials and shaped samples (PWT in left, clay right).

obtained. Drying shrinkage of the samples was mea-

In order to achieve comparable results, the samples
were divided into two groups. One group of samples was
fired at 900 1C and the other group was unfired.
The fired samples were heated at the rate of 2 1C/min
until 600 1C and then at 5 1C/min to 900 1C. The
specimens remained in the furnace at the maximum
temperature for 2 h. The samples were cooled to room
temperature in the furnace. After firing, shrinkage of the
samples was measured. Fired samples were tested for
water absorption, bulk density, apparent density,
porosity and compressive strength. The second group
Fig. 2. DTA-TG curves of the PWT material. (unfired) samples were tested for drying shrinkage, unit
weight density, and compressive strength. The tests were
performed according to BIA [9], ASTM C67 [10],
TS (Turkish Standard Code) 704 [11] and TS 705
having a 1 mm opening. The solid brick clay samples standards [12].
were manufactured using standard pilot laboratory
procedures and equipment. Test samples
(40  70  100 mm and no perforation) were shaped
with a laboratory-type extrusion machine (Fig. 3). 3. Test results and discussion
Enough numbers of specimens were prepared for each
test series. Shaped samples were dried at laboratory At least 10 samples were used in each test for all
conditions (21 1C, 60% relative humidity) for 72 h and categories and the average values are presented and
kept in an oven at 10575 1C until constant weight was discussed in this section.
I. Demir / Building and Environment 41 (2006) 1274–1278 1277

3.1. Physical properties cracking and bloating were observed on the fired
No defect was observed after drying. No cracks,
bloating and other firing defects were observed after
firing. 3.2. Mechanical properties
For every mixture, plasticity water (Ps) and drying-
shrinkage (Sd) of the samples are shown in Table 4. It Porosity, bulk density, apparent density and water
was found that increase in PWT addition to clay body absorption of the fired samples (first group) were
increases the required water content for the plasticity of measured. Only compressive strength and unit weight
the clay–waste mixture. The ability of PWT fibres to values were determined for second group specimens due
absorb water into their naturally existing water channel to the unfired properties. Mechanical properties of the
is the main reason for the increase in water demand for samples are given in Table 5. The increase in the amount
plasticity. Depending on PWT addition, change in the of PWT addition causes a reduction in the brick density.
plasticity and drying shrinkage of the clay body was The main reason for such a result is the burning of PWT
measured. PWT addition was increased plasticity and addition as an organic material which can easily burn
drying shrinkages compared to the control mix. PWT out during the sintering period. Depending on PWT
addition contains cellulose-like compounds and this addition, porosity increases continuously.
may increase the plasticity. PWT addition contains not It was found that in the PWT added samples the
only cellulose but also pectin, starch, sugar, ether extract water absorption exceeds specification (18% water
and protein [8]. Most of these materials can be dissolved absorption by weight) [9,11]. It was thought that an
in water and have gel-forming properties when mixed increase in water absorption value for these series is due
with water, and this may contribute to the plasticity. to an increase in porous structure because of PWT
Unfired brick sample was investigated with SEM. addition. This also gives the reason for lower density.
According to SEM investigations, PWT fibre thick- The values of bulk density (fired samples) and unit
nesses are between 25 and 50 mm and scattered in unfired weights (unfired samples) decreased with increasing
body (Fig. 4). PWT ratio in the mixes. The values of apparent density
Loss of ignition values increase with PWT addition. It slightly decreased with PWT addition according to
is shown from the DTA-TG analysis that PWT can be control mix.
completely burned off from clay body at early stages
and in a fairly wide scale (at 200–500 1C) in the furnace Table 5
(Fig. 2). This shows that PWT addition can also Mechanical properties of the fired and unfired samples
contribute to the heat input of the firing furnace. No Mechanical properties (A) Series (B) Series (C) Series

PWT content (wt%) 0 2.5 5

Porosity (%)a 30 35 41.4
Table 4
Bulk density (g/cm3)a 1.67 1.55 1.50
Plasticity, drying shrinkage and loss on ignition of the samples
Apparent density (g/cm3)a 2.63 2.54 2.52
A B C Water absorption (%)a 17.95 22.5 27.30
Comp. stgh. (MPa)a 15.5 19.5 22.7
PWT content (wt%) 0 2.5 5 Comp. Stgh. (MPa)b 3.5 5.5 7.6
Plasticity water (%) 24 29 36.5 Unit weight (kg/dm3)b 1.70 1.57 1.52
Drying shrinkage (%) 3.6 4.5 5.2 a
LOI (fired samples at 900 1C) 4.1 4.6 5.5 Fired samples.
Unfired samples.

Fig. 4. SEM (back-scattered image) images of PWT fibres.

1278 I. Demir / Building and Environment 41 (2006) 1274–1278

A device with a testing capacity of 25 kN pressures determined as 900 0C. Usage of waste material in the
was used in the compressive strength testing process. clay mixture improved the physical and mechanical
The minimum average crushing strength was given in properties. The use of PWT waste in brick produc-
Turkish standard code as 5 MPa for burnt clay bricks tion provides an economical contribution and also
[12] and 1 MPa for unfired clay brick. [13–15]. It was helps the protection of the environment.
observed that in all series, even those with an unfired
mixture, the compressive strength of the samples was
above 5 MPa. In spite of increasing the porosity with
PWT addition, the compressive strength of the samples
(B and C) was increased dramatically. This may be [1] Abang Abdullah AA. In: Chandra S, editor. Waste materials used
caused from burning of the PWT in the clay body at the in concrete manufacturing. New Jersey, USA: Noyes Publications
furnace and generating extra heating energy. Westwood; 1977 [Chapter 10].
[3] Kacar B. C - ayın Biyokimyası ve İs-letme Teknolojisi, s 190–193,
C- ay-Kur yayını no: 6, 1987.
4. Conclusions [4] Kalay HZ, Yalinkilic, MK, Altun, L. 1993. Mushroom produc-
tion from waste tea leaves substrate and utilization of waste
Based on the experimental investigation reported in compost as organic fertilizer. Research Project of Black Sea
this paper, the following conclusions are drawn: Technical University, Code, Trabzon, Turkey,
[5] Yalinkilic MK, Altun L, Kalay HZ. Cornposting of waste tea
(1) PWT addition increases the required water content leaves aimed at utilization for forest seedlings as an organic
for plasticity. fertilizer. Ecology-Environment Journal of Turkey 1996;l8:
(2) Fibrous characteristics of the waste do not create 28–32.
any problem during shaping at used addition levels. [6] Yalinkilic MK, Yusuf S, Yoshimura T, Takahashi M, Tsunoda
Extrusion defects was not observed. K. Effect of vapour phase formalization of boric acid treated
wood on boron leachability and biological resistance. Proceedings
(3) PWT is easily burnt out and it has wide range of third Pacific rim bio-based composite symposium, Kyoto,
burning from the clay body during firing. No black Japan; 1996b.p.544-551
coring and bloating were observed after firing. [7] Yalinkilic MK, Imamura Y, Takahashi M, Kalaycioğlu H, Nemli
(4) An increase in the content of the waste addition G, Demirci N, Ozdemir T. Biological, physical and mechanical
leads to an increase in the drying shrinkage. Also an properties of particleboard manufactured from waste tea leaves.
International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation 1998;41:
increase of additive leads to an increase in the total 75–84.
shrinkage. Firing loss increased as the amount of [8] Duke JA, Atchly AA. Proximate analysis. In: Christe BR, editor.
waste additive increased. The handbook of plant science in agriculture. CRC Press, Inc.:
(5) The waste additive increased the open porosity and Boca Raton, FL; 1984.
[9] BIA, Brick industry association (USA), manufacturing, classifica-
this effect decreased the bulk density and improved
tion and selection of brick manufacturing- Part I, 1986.
the thermal insulating properties. [10] ASTM, C 67, Standard methods of sampling and testing
(6) Organic characteristics of PWT give extra contribu- brick and structural clay tile. Brick Manufacturing Part I,
tion to the heat input of the furnace. 1986.
(7) Compressive strength values increase with increasing [11] Turkish Standard Institution (TS 704) 1983, Clay bricks-Wall
the amount of waste additive. These values meet the Tile.
[12] Turkish Standard Institution (TS 705) 1985, Solid brick and
required specification both on fired and unfired vertically perforated bricks (the classification, properties, sam-
bricks. pling, testing and marking of solid bricks and vertically perforated
(8) PWT can be used as an organic kind of pore-forming bricks).
additive in the clay body without any harmful effect [13] Turkish Standard Institution (TS 2514) 1977, Adobe blocks and
production methods.
on the other brick manufacturing parameters.
[14] Anonymous Turkish standard institution (TS 4600) 2003, Black
(9) According to test results, a mixture of up to 5% tea-Definition and basic requirement.
PWT waste additives can be used in brick produc- [15] Anonymous (ISO 3720), 2001 Black tea—definition and basic
tion. The most economical firing temperature was requirements.