MATERIALS SCIENCES AND APPLICATIONS
Volumen: 7, Numero: 8, Páginas: PP. 403-420
The objective of this work was to develop a more and better understanding of the strength developing in clay-andesite fired brick. The purpose was to improve the quality of the clay bricks that are handmade in the southern region of Ecuador to make them suitable for more widespread use in the local construction industry. To achieve our goal, we first physically, chemically, and mechanically characterized the ?clayey? and ?sandy? materials used in the fabrication of handmade bricks in the region. Second, the optimal mixture (OM): the optimal proportion between the amounts of ?clayey? and ?sandy? material was sought. Third, clay bricks were prepared using the OM, baked at 950°C, and characterized. In addition, bricks produced by regional artisans were characterized, and the results were compared with the results obtained for the bricks prepared using the OM. Our data reveal that the optimal mixture is 50% ?clayey? material and 50% ?sandy? material and that with this mixture, an average improvement in brick quality of 300% can be achieved; thus, the use of the OM makes it possible to expand the use of these bricks in the local construction industry and enables an environmentally friendly production process by reducing the intensive exploitation of regional clay deposits. This improvement is achieved by virtue of the anorthite enrichment that occurs in the solid solution, which results from the evolution of andesine. The anorthite contributes to the formation of a stronger matrix among the different grains of the material. Conditions are favorable for this enrichment process to occur when ?sandy? materials with high contents of andesite, which is common in Ecuadorian soils, are used.