5 Interesting Facts About Bricks

1. Bricks vary according to use

Most bricks are made from clay and shale and are kiln-fired, and these fall into a few different categories. Bricks that are used equally for their durability and appearance – for example, in the exterior of buildings – are known as face bricks. Common bricks are different from face bricks in that their mechanical properties are more important than their aesthetic appeal. These are often used for applications underground or where they might be covered with render or plaster. Bricks developed for use in a walkway or roadway are called paving bricks. Bricks used for lining furnaces, kilns, and fireplaces are called fire bricks or refractory bricks. Refractory bricks are specially manufactured to withstand high temperature and have low thermal conductivity for greater energy efficiency, and they can have a number of additives to improve their ability to withstand the harsh and extreme conditions they’re exposed to. We sell several products used in the manufacture of refractory bricks: phosphates, lithium salts, sodium silicates, sodium metasilicates, and silicon metal. As all our customers say, the best bricks are produced using BassTech’s additives! These are very broad categories, and there are thousands of specific kinds of bricks, each developed for specific uses. With so many different bricks to choose from, all bricks are graded for durability.

2. Bricks use Barium Carbonate to control efflorescence

The white, powdery scum that can sometimes develop on new brick masonry is known as efflorescence, or scumming. This comes from water-soluble salt deposits emerging from somewhere within the masonry wall and is preventable with the right additives. Barium carbonate eliminates scumming by reacting with the soluble salts that cause this (commonly calcium sulfate and magnesium sulfate), locking them within the clay body and hindering migration to the surface.

3. Color is controlled by chemical and mineral content

The fired color of bricks is influenced by the chemical and mineral content of the raw materials upon being fired. Fired bricks normally contain silica (sand), alumina (clay), lime, iron oxide, and magnesia. Iron is converted to iron oxide when a brick is fired, which causes bricks to have a red color. A higher lime content can cause bricks to become white or yellow upon firing. Manufacturers can offer customers more color and texture options with the usage of face coatings.

4. BassTech is located 30 miles South of the original “Brickmaking Capital of the World”

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the largest brick making region in the world was located along the Hudson River, which was home to a large natural deposit of rich clay. More than 100 brick manufacturers operated along the river, with over 40 brick making factories in the village of Haverstraw alone. Many of these bricks were used in the construction of New York City’s brick buildings. Due to various factors, the brick making industry along the Hudson declined around the time of World War II.

5. Bricks have Frogs

The indentation in the surface of some bricks is called a “frog.” There has been much debate on why it’s called a frog, as well as debate on what purposes the frog serves. There is also debate regarding whether frogged bricks should be laid frog-up or frog-down.

Speak with an Expert

Are you a Brick or Refractory manufacturer? We provide high-quality additives such as Barium Carbonate and Specialty Metal Phosphates to your industry, and can deliver container-load quantities of materials right to your door! To learn more about how BassTech International can assist you with your chemical needs, feel free to reach out to one of our industry chemical experts.

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