Composition of Good Brick Earth

Following are the constituents of good brick earth:


It exists in clay either as free or combined. As free sand, it is mechanically mixed with clay and in combined form, it exists in chemical composition with alumina. A good brick earth should contain about 50% to 60% of silica. The presence of this constituent prevents cracking, shrinking and warping of raw bricks. In thus imparts uniform shape to the bricks. The durability of bricks depends on the proper proportion of silica in brick earth. The excess of silica destroys the cohesion between particles and the bricks become brittle.


It is the chief constituent of every kind of clay. A good brick carth should contain about 20% to 30% of alumina. This constituent imparts plasticity to the earth so that it can be moulded. If alumina is present in excess, with inadequate quantity of sand, the raw bricks shrink and warp during drying and burning and become too hard when burnt.


A small quantity of lime not exceeding 5 percent is desirable in good brick earth. It should be present in a very finely powdered state because even small particles of the size of a pin-head cause faking of the bricks. The lime prevents shrinkage of raw bricks. The sand alone is infusible. But it slightly fuses at kiln temperature in presence of lime. Such fused sand works as a hard cementing material for brick particles. The excess of lime causes the brick to melt and hence its shape is lost. The lumps of lime are converted into quicklime after burning and this quick lime slakes and expands in presence of moisture. Such an action results in splitting of bricks into pieces.

Oxide of iron

A small quantity of oxide of iron to the extent of about 5 to 6 per cent is desirable in good brick earth. It helps as lime to fuse sand. It also imparts red colour to the bricks. The excess of oxide of iron makes the bricks dark blue or blackish. If, on the other hand, the quantity of iron oxide is comparatively less, the bricks will be yellowish in colour.


A small quantity (<1%) of magnesia in brick earth imparts yellow tint to the bricks and decreases shrinkage. But excess of magnesia leads to the decay of bricks.

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