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A Building material
Made by: Priti Chauhan

What are bricks?
A small rectangular block typically made of fired or sundried clay, used in building are known as Bricks.
Bricks are typically produced in common or standard sizes
in bulk quantities.
It has been considered as one of the long lasting and
throughout the years.
It is the oldest
It is the most popular and leading construction material
because it is cheap, durable and easy to handle and work
They are generally used for building-up exterior and
walls, partitions, piers, footings, etc..

Preparation of Brick Earth:

Preparation of Brick Earth


Preparation of Brick Earth:

Soil used for making building bricks should be processed so
as to be free of gravel, coarse sand ( practical size more than 2
mm ), lime and kankar particles, organic matter, etc.
About 20 cm of the top layer of the earth, normally containing
stones, pebbles, gravel, roots, etc. is removed after clearing
roots and vegetation.

After removing the top layer of the earth, proportions of
additives such as fly ash, sandy loam, rice husk ash, stand
dust, etc. should be spread over the plane ground surface . The
soil mass is then manually excavated, puddled, watered and
left over for weathering and subsequent processing.
The digging operation should be done before rains.

Weathering :
Stones, gravels, pebbles, roots, etc. are removed from the
dug earth and the soil is heaped on level ground in layers of
60-120 cm.
The soil is left in heap and exposed to weather for atleast
one month in cases where such weathering is considered
necessary for the soil.
This is done to develop homogeneity in the mass of soil,
particularly if they are from different sources, and also to
eliminate the impurities which get oxidized.
Soluble salts in the clay would also be eroded by rain to
some extent, which otherwise could have caused scumming at
the time of burning.
The soil should be turned atleast twice and it should be
ensured that the entire soil is wet throughout the period of
weathering. In order to keep it wet, water must be sprayed as
often as necessary.

Blending :
The earth is then mixed with sandy-earth and calcareousearth in suitable proportion to modify the composition of soil.
Moderate amount of water is mixed so as to obtain the
moderate consistency for moulding.
The mass is then mixed uniformly with spades.
Addition of water to the soil at the dumps is necessary for
the easy mixing and workability, but the addition of water
should be controlled in such a way that it may not create a
problem in moulding and drying.
Excessive moisture content may effect the size and shape of
the finished :
Tempering consists of kneading the earth with feet so as to
make the mass stiff and plastic.
It should preferably be carried out by storing the soil in a
cool place in layers of about 30 cm thickness for not less than
36 hours. This will ensure homogeneity in the mass of clay for
subsequent processing.

It is a process of giving a required
shape to the brick from prepared
brick earth.
Moulding can be carried out by two
1. Hand Moulding
2. Machine Moulding

Hand Moulding :
As the name
suggests, the
process is done
This process is
further classified
a. Ground Moulding
b. Table Moulding

Ground Moulding:
In this process, the ground is leveled and sand is
sprinkled on it. The moulded bricks are left on the
ground for drying.
Such bricks do not have frog and the lower brick
surface becomes too rough.
The process consists of shaping in hands a lump of
earth , slightly more than that of brick volume. It is
then rolled in sand and with jerk it is dashed into the
mould .
The moulder than presses the earth properly in the
corners of the mould with his thumb.
The surplus clay on the top is removed with a sharp
edge metal plate called strike or with a thin wire
stretched over the mould.
After this the mould is given a gentle slope and is

Table Moulding:
The bricks are moulded on stock boards nailed on the
moulding table .
Stock boards have the projection for forming the frog.
The process of filling in the mould is same as Ground
Moulding .
After this, the thin board called pallet is placed over
the mould.
The mould containing the brick is then smartly lifted
off the stock board and inverted so that the moulded
clay along with the mould rests on the pallet .
The mould is then removed and the brick is carried to
the drying site.

Machine Moulding:
Machine moulding can be done by either of the following process:
1. Plastic Method:
2. Dry-press Method:

Plastic Method:
The pugged, stiffer clay is forced through a rectangular
opening of brick size by means of an auger.
Clay comes out in the form of bar.
The bricks are cut from the bar by a frame consisting of
several wires at a distance of a brick size.
This is a quick and economical process.

Dry-press Method:
The moist, powdered clay is fed into the mould on the
mechanically operated press, where it is subjected to high
pressure and the clay in the mould takes the shape of bricks.
Such pressed bricks are more dense, smooth and uniform
than ordinary bricks.
These are brunt carefully as they are likely to crack.


The damp bricks , if directly burnt, are likely to be cracked

and distorted . Hence the moulded bricks are dried before
they are taken for the next operation of burning.
The object of drying is to remove the moisture to control the
shrinkage and save fuel and time during burning.
The drying shrinkage is dependent upon pore spaces within
clay and the mixing of water.
Clay products can be dried in open air driers or in artificial
This is very important operation in manufacturing bricks. It
imparts hardness and strength to the bricks and makes them
dense and durable .If over burnt, they will be brittle and
hence break easily.
Burning process takes place in three stages: Dehydration,
Oxidation & Burning in Clamp or Kiln
In dehydration, the water which has been retained in the
pores of the clay after drying is driven off and the clay loses
its plasticity.
In oxidation the remainder of the carbon is eliminated.
After that the process of burning continues either in clamp
or in Kiln.








Width of
Brick is
Height of
Brick is

Length of
Brick is

Classification of Bricks:
Based on Field Practice:
First Class Brick
These are thoroughly burnt and are deep red, cherry or copper
The surface should be smooth and rectangular , with parallel,
sharp and straight edges and square corners.
These should be free from flaws, cracks and stones.
These should have uniform texture.
No impression should be left on the brick when a scratch is
made by a finger nail.
A metallic or ringing sound should come when two bricks are
struck against each other.
The fractured surface of the brick should not show lump of lime
Water absorption should be 12-15% of its dry weight when
immersed in cold water for 24 hours.
The crushing strength of the brick should not be less than
10N/mm. This limit varies with different Government
:First class bricks are recommended for pointing, exposed face work
organizations around the country.
in masonary structures, flooring and reinforced brick work.

Second Class
Second Class Bricks are supposed to have the same
requirements as the first class ones except that:
Small cracks and distortions are permitted.
A little higher water absorption of about 16-20% of its dry
weight is allowed.
The crushing strength should not be less than 7.0 N/mm


They are recommended for all important or unimportant hidden

masonary works and centering of reinforced bricks and reinforced
cement concrete (RCC)- structures.

Third Class
Third Class Bricks are
underburnt bricks.
They are soft and lightcoloured producing a dull
sound when struck against
each other. Water absorption
is about 25% of dry weight
It is used for building
temporary structures.

Fourth Class Brick

Fourth class bricks are over

burnt and badly distorted in
shape and size and are brittle in
The ballast of such bricks is
used for foundation and
floors in lime concrete and
road metal.

Classification of Bricks:

Based on Uses:
Common Brick: It is general multi-purpose unit
manufactured economically without special reference to
appearance. These may vary greatly in strength and durability
and are used for filling, backing and in walls where appearance
is of no use.

Facing Bricks: They are made primarily with a view to

have good appearance, either of colour or texture or both.
These are durable under severe exposure and are used in fronts
of building walls for which a pleasing appearance is desired.

Engineering Bricks:

They are strong,

impermeable, smooth, table moulded, hard and conform to
defined limits of absorption and strength. These are used for all
load bearing structures.

Classification of Bricks:
Based on Finishes:
1. Sand-faced Bricks:

They have textured

surface manufactured by sprinkling sand on the
inner surface of mould.

2. Rustic Bricks:

It has mechanically textured

finish, varying in pattern.

Classification of Bricks:
Based on Manufacture:
1. Hand-Made Bricks:

These bricks are hand


2. Machine-Made:

Depending upon mechanical

arrangement, bricks are known as wire-cut bricks--bricks cut from clay extruded in a column and cut off
into brick sizes by wires; pressed bricks---when
bricks are manufactured from stiff plastic or semi-dry
clay and pressed into mould; moulded bricks---when
bricks are moulded by machines imitating hand

Classification of Bricks:
Based on Burning:
1. Pale Bricks:

They are under burnt bricks

obtained from outer portion of the kiln.

2. Body Bricks:

They are well burnt bricks

occupying central portion of the kiln.

3. Arch Bricks:

They are over burnt also known

as clinker bricks obtained from inner portion of the

Classification of Bricks:
Based on Types:
1. Solid Bricks:

Small holes not exceeding 25

percent of the volume of the brick are permitted;
alternatively, frogs not exceeding 20 percent of the
total volume are permitted

2. Perforated Bricks:

Small holes may exceed

25 percent of the total volume of the bricks.

3. Hollow Bricks:

The total holes, which need

not be small, may exceed 25 percent of the volume of
the bricks.

4. Cellular Bricks :

Holes closed at one end

exceed 20 percent of the volume.


The essential requirements for building bricks are sufficient
strength in crushing, regularity in size, a proper suction rate,
and a pleasing appearance when exposed to view.
Size and Shape : The bricks should have uniform size and
plane, rectangular surfaces with parallel sides and sharp straight
Colour: The bricks should have uniform deep red or cherry
colour as indicative of uniformly in chemical composition and
thoroughness in the burning of the brick.
Texture and Compactness: The surfaces should not be too
smooth to cause slipping of mortar. The brick should have
precompact and uniform texture. A fractured surface should not
show fissures, holes grits or lumps of lime.
Hardness and Soundness: The brick should be so hard that
when scratched by a finger nail no impression is made. When two
bricks are struck together, a metallic sound should be produced.
Water Absorption should not exceed 20 percent of its dry
weight when kept immersed in water for 24 hours.

Terminology/ Forms of

Stretcher This is a brick laid

with its length parallel to the face

or front or brick laid with its
longer side exposed is a Stretcher
2. Header This is a brick laid with
Header Face
its breadth or width parallel to
the face or front or bricks laid
3. Closer A piece of brick which is used
to its
up the
at the end
is a
of brick courses is known as a Closer andHeader
it helps
preventing the joints of
successive courses to come in a vertical line. The closer is not specially
moulded, but it is prepared by the mason with the edge of the trowel.

4. Queen closer:

This is obtained by
longitudinally in two equal
parts. It can also be made
from two quarter bricks,
known as quarter closer, to
minimize the wastage of
A queen closer is
generally placed near the

5. King Closer:

Queen closer

King closer

This is obtained by
portion of the brick such
that a half of a header
and half of stretcher are
obtained on the adjoining
cut faces.
A King closer is used
near door and window

6. Bevelled Closer :

7. Mitred Closer:

This is obtained by cutting a triangular

portion of half the width but full length.
A bevelled closer appears as a closer on
one face and as a header at the other face .
It is used for splayed brickwork.

This is obtained by cutting a

triangular portion of the break
through its width and making an
angle of 45 to 60 with the
length of the bricks.
It is used at corners, junctions,

Mitred closer

8. Half or Bat:
This is obtained by cutting
a brick vertically into two
equal parts.

10. Quarter Closer:

This is obtained by cutting
a one-third of the brick.

Half or Bat

9. Split:
It is obtained when a brick is
cut horizontally into two
equal parts.
11. Three Quarter Closer:
It is obtained by cutting twothird of brick.

12.Bullnose Brick:
A brick moulded with a rounded angle is termed as bullnose.
The centre of curved portion is situated on the long centre-line
of brick.

13. Hollow Brick:

These are also known as the cellular or cavity bricks. Such
bricks are light in weight and are prepared from special
homogeneous clay.

Bullnose Brick

14. Coping Bricks:

These bricks are made to suit the thickness of walls on which
coping is to be provided.

15. Channel Bricks:

These bricks are moulded to the shape of channel and they
are often glazed.

16. Cownose Bricks:

Hollow Brick

A brick moulded with a double bullnose on end is known as

cownose brick.

17. Perforated Bricks:

Theses bricks contain cylindrical holes throughout their
thickness and are also light in weight.

18.Curved sector Bricks:

These bricks are in form of curved sector and they are used in
the construction of circular brick masonry pillars, brick
chimneys, etc.
Curved sector

Perforated Brick

Cownose Brick

Channel Brick

Coping Brick

19. Lap : Lap is the horizontal

distance between the vertical
joints of successive brick course.
20.Bed: Bed is the lower surface
of the brick when laid flat.
21. Perpend: A perpend is an
imaginary vertical line which
included the vertical joint seprating
two adjoining bricks.



22. Racking back: It is the

termination of wall in a stepped
23. Toothing: It is the termination ng

of the wall in such a fashion that

each alternate course at the end
projects, in order to provide
adequate bond if the wall is



Uses of Bricks:
The first class and second class bricks are widely
used for all sorts of sound work especially of
permanent nature . These structures include
buildings, dams, roads, sewers, bridge piers,
tunnels, pitching works, etc.
The use of first class bricks is specified for
obtaining the architectural effects on faces of
structures where they are to be kept exposed for
The masonry with second class bricks is generally
plastered to make the smooth surface obtained due
to the irregular shape and size of bricks. The mortar
required in brick masonry using second class bricks
will also be more.
The third class and sun-dried bricks are used for
construction work of temporary nature. These bricks
are not used in damp situations or at places
subjected to heavy rains.
The fourth class bricks are used as road metal and
as aggregate s in the foundation concrete.

Crushed bricks used as an aggregate For Buildings (exposed brick work)

In Patios

In Arches

In Pavements

Factors affecting the Strength of Bricks:

Preparation of clay and blending of ingredients

Nature of moulding adopted
Care taken in drying and stacking
Type of kiln used including type of fuel and its feeding
Burning and Cooling processes
Care taken in unloading

Test for Bricks:

Crushing Strength
Presence of soluble
Shape and size

Defects of Bricks:
Over-burning of Bricks: If Bricks are over burnt , a soft
molten mass is produced and the bricks loose their shape. Such
bricks are not used for construction works.
Under-burning of Bricks: When bricks are not burnt , the
degree of water absorption is higher and compressive strength is
less. Such bricks are not recommended for construction works.
Bloating : This defect observed as spongy swollen mass over
the surface of burned bricks is caused due to the presence of excess
carbonaceous matter and sulphur in brick-clay.
Black Core: When brick-clay contains bituminous matter or
carbon and they are not completely removed by oxidation, the brick
results in black core mainly because of improper burning.
Efflorescence: This defect is caused because of alkalis present
in bricks. When bricks come in contact with moisture, water is
absorbed and the alkalis crystallize. On drying grey or white patches
appear on the brick surface.
This can be minimized by selecting proper clay materials for brick
manufacturing, preventing moisture to come in contact with the
masonary, by providing water proof coping and by using water

Chuffs: The deformation of the shape of bricks caused by the rain

water falling on hot bricks is known as chuffs.
Checks or Cracks: This defect may be because of lumps of
lime or excess of water. In case of former, when bricks come in
contact with water, the absorbed water reacts with lime nodules
causing expansion and a consequent disintegration of bricks,
whereas shrinkage and burning cracks result when excess of water is
added during brick manufacturing.
Spots: Iron sulphide, if present in the brick clay, results in dark
surface spots on the brick surfaces. Such bricks though not harmful
are unsuitable for exposed masonary work.
Blister: Broken blisters are generally caused on the surface of
sewer pipes and drain tiles due to air imprisoned during their
Lamination: These are caused by the entrapped air in the voids
of clay. Laminations produce thin lamina on the brick faces which
weather out on exposure. Such bricks are weak in structure.

Efflorescence in Brick

Brick work showing

Cracking in Brick