Brick

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A single brick Brick.jpg
A single brick
A wall constructed in glazed-headed Flemish bond with bricks of various shades and lengths Brick wall close-up view.jpg
A wall constructed in glazed-headed Flemish bond with bricks of various shades and lengths
An old brick wall in English bond laid with alternating courses of headers and stretchers Concrete wall.jpg
An old brick wall in English bond laid with alternating courses of headers and stretchers

A brick is a type of block used to build walls, pavements and other elements in masonry construction. Properly, the term brick denotes a block composed of dried clay, but is now also used informally to denote other chemically cured construction blocks. Bricks can be joined together using mortar, adhesives or by interlocking them. [1] [2] Bricks are produced in numerous classes, types, materials, and sizes which vary with region and time period, and are produced in bulk quantities.

Contents

Block is a similar term referring to a rectangular building unit composed of similar materials, but is usually larger than a brick. Lightweight bricks (also called lightweight blocks) are made from expanded clay aggregate.

Fired bricks are one of the longest-lasting and strongest building materials, sometimes referred to as artificial stone, and have been used since circa 4000 BC. Air-dried bricks, also known as mudbricks, have a history older than fired bricks, and have an additional ingredient of a mechanical binder such as straw.

Bricks are laid in courses and numerous patterns known as bonds, collectively known as brickwork, and may be laid in various kinds of mortar to hold the bricks together to make a durable structure.

History

Middle East and South Asia

The ancient Jetavanaramaya stupa of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka is one of the largest brick structures in the world. SL Anuradhapura asv2020-01 img24 Jetavanaramaya Stupa.jpg
The ancient Jetavanaramaya stupa of Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka is one of the largest brick structures in the world.

The earliest bricks were dried brick, meaning that they were formed from clay-bearing earth or mud and dried (usually in the sun) until they were strong enough for use. The oldest discovered bricks, originally made from shaped mud and dating before 7500 BC, were found at Tell Aswad, in the upper Tigris region and in southeast Anatolia close to Diyarbakir. [3] The South Asian inhabitants of Mehrgarh also constructed, and lived in, air-dried mudbrick houses between 7000–3300 BC. [4] Other more recent findings, dated between 7,000 and 6,395 BC, come from Jericho, Catal Hüyük, the ancient Egyptian fortress of Buhen, and the ancient Indus Valley cities of Mohenjo-daro, Harappa, [5] and Mehrgarh. [6] Ceramic, or fired brick was used as early as 3000 BC in early Indus Valley cities like Kalibangan. [7]

The brickwork of Shebeli Tower in Iran displays 12th-century craftsmanship Shebli2.jpg
The brickwork of Shebeli Tower in Iran displays 12th-century craftsmanship

China

The earliest fired bricks appeared in Neolithic China around 4400 BC at Chengtoushan, a walled settlement of the Daxi culture. [8] These bricks were made of red clay, fired on all sides to above 600 °C, and used as flooring for houses. By the Qujialing period (3300 BC), fired bricks were being used to pave roads and as building foundations at Chengtoushan. [9]

Bricks continued to be used during 2nd millennium BC at a site near Xi'an. [10] Fired bricks were found in Western Zhou (1046–771 BC) ruins, where they were produced on a large scale. [11] [12] [13] The carpenter's manual Yingzao Fashi , published in 1103 at the time of the Song dynasty described the brick making process and glazing techniques then in use. Using the 17th-century encyclopaedic text Tiangong Kaiwu , historian Timothy Brook outlined the brick production process of Ming Dynasty China:

...the kilnmaster had to make sure that the temperature inside the kiln stayed at a level that caused the clay to shimmer with the colour of molten gold or silver. He also had to know when to quench the kiln with water so as to produce the surface glaze. To anonymous labourers fell the less skilled stages of brick production: mixing clay and water, driving oxen over the mixture to trample it into a thick paste, scooping the paste into standardised wooden frames (to produce a brick roughly 42 cm long, 20 cm wide, and 10 cm thick), smoothing the surfaces with a wire-strung bow, removing them from the frames, printing the fronts and backs with stamps that indicated where the bricks came from and who made them, loading the kilns with fuel (likelier wood than coal), stacking the bricks in the kiln, removing them to cool while the kilns were still hot, and bundling them into pallets for transportation. It was hot, filthy work.

Europe

The Roman Basilica Aula Palatina in Trier, Germany, built with fired bricks in the 4th century as an audience hall for Constantine I Trier Kurfuerstliches Palais BW 4.JPG
The Roman Basilica Aula Palatina in Trier, Germany, built with fired bricks in the 4th century as an audience hall for Constantine I
Malbork Castle of the Teutonic Order in Poland - the largest brick castle in the world Castillo de Malbork, Polonia, 2013-05-19, DD 04.jpg
Malbork Castle of the Teutonic Order in Poland – the largest brick castle in the world

Early civilisations around the Mediterranean adopted the use of fired bricks, including the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The Roman legions operated mobile kilns, [14] and built large brick structures throughout the Roman Empire, stamping the bricks with the seal of the legion.

During the Early Middle Ages the use of bricks in construction became popular in Northern Europe, after being introduced there from Northern-Western Italy. An independent style of brick architecture, known as brick Gothic (similar to Gothic architecture) flourished in places that lacked indigenous sources of rocks. Examples of this architectural style can be found in modern-day Denmark, Germany, Poland, and Kaliningrad (former East Prussia).

This style evolved into Brick Renaissance as the stylistic changes associated with the Italian Renaissance spread to northern Europe, leading to the adoption of Renaissance elements into brick building. A clear distinction between the two styles only developed at the transition to Baroque architecture. In Lübeck, for example, Brick Renaissance is clearly recognisable in buildings equipped with terracotta reliefs by the artist Statius von Düren, who was also active at Schwerin (Schwerin Castle) and Wismar (Fürstenhof).

Long-distance bulk transport of bricks and other construction equipment remained prohibitively expensive until the development of modern transportation infrastructure, with the construction of canal, roads, and railways.

Industrial era

Production of bricks increased massively with the onset of the Industrial Revolution and the rise in factory building in England. For reasons of speed and economy, bricks were increasingly preferred as building material to stone, even in areas where the stone was readily available. It was at this time in London that bright red brick was chosen for construction to make the buildings more visible in the heavy fog and to help prevent traffic accidents. [15]

The transition from the traditional method of production known as hand-moulding to a mechanised form of mass-production slowly took place during the first half of the nineteenth century. Possibly the first successful brick-making machine was patented by Henry Clayton, employed at the Atlas Works in Middlesex, England, in 1855, and was capable of producing up to 25,000 bricks daily with minimal supervision. [16] His mechanical apparatus soon achieved widespread attention after it was adopted for use by the South Eastern Railway Company for brick-making at their factory near Folkestone. [17] The Bradley & Craven Ltd 'Stiff-Plastic Brickmaking Machine' was patented in 1853, apparently predating Clayton. Bradley & Craven went on to be a dominant manufacturer of brickmaking machinery. [18] Predating both Clayton and Bradley & Craven Ltd. however was the brick making machine patented by Richard A. Ver Valen of Haverstraw, New York, in 1852. [19]

The demand for high office building construction at the turn of the 20th century led to a much greater use of cast and wrought iron, and later, steel and concrete. The use of brick for skyscraper construction severely limited the size of the building – the Monadnock Building, built in 1896 in Chicago, required exceptionally thick walls to maintain the structural integrity of its 17 storeys.

Following pioneering work in the 1950s at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Building Research Establishment in Watford, UK, the use of improved masonry for the construction of tall structures up to 18 storeys high was made viable. However, the use of brick has largely remained restricted to small to medium-sized buildings, as steel and concrete remain superior materials for high-rise construction. [20]

Methods of manufacture

Brick making at the beginning of the 20th century BrickMakingTurnOfTheCentury.jpg
Brick making at the beginning of the 20th century

Three basic types of brick are un-fired, fired, and chemically set bricks. Each type is manufactured differently.

Mudbrick

Unfired bricks, also known as mudbricks, are made from a wet, clay-containing soil mixed with straw or similar binders. They are air-dried until ready for use.

Fired brick

Raw bricks sun-drying before being fired Brick making in Java.jpg
Raw bricks sun-drying before being fired

Fired bricks are burned in a kiln which makes them durable. Modern, fired, clay bricks are formed in one of three processes – soft mud, dry press, or extruded. Depending on the country, either the extruded or soft mud method is the most common, since they are the most economical.

Normally, bricks contain the following ingredients: [21]

  1. Silica (sand) – 50% to 60% by weight
  2. Alumina (clay) – 20% to 30% by weight
  3. Lime – 2 to 5% by weight
  4. Iron oxide – ≤ 7% by weight
  5. Magnesia – less than 1% by weight

Shaping methods

Three main methods are used for shaping the raw materials into bricks to be fired:

  • Molded bricks – These bricks start with raw clay, preferably in a mix with 25–30% sand to reduce shrinkage. The clay is first ground and mixed with water to the desired consistency. The clay is then pressed into steel moulds with a hydraulic press. The shaped clay is then fired ("burned") at 900–1000 °C to achieve strength.
  • Dry-pressed bricks – The dry-press method is similar to the soft-mud moulded method, but starts with a much thicker clay mix, so it forms more accurate, sharper-edged bricks. The greater force in pressing and the longer burn make this method more expensive.
  • Extruded bricks – For extruded bricks the clay is mixed with 10–15% water (stiff extrusion) or 20–25% water (soft extrusion) in a pugmill. This mixture is forced through a die to create a long cable of material of the desired width and depth. This mass is then cut into bricks of the desired length by a wall of wires. Most structural bricks are made by this method as it produces hard, dense bricks, and suitable dies can produce perforations as well. The introduction of such holes reduces the volume of clay needed, and hence the cost. Hollow bricks are lighter and easier to handle, and have different thermal properties from solid bricks. The cut bricks are hardened by drying for 20 to 40 hours at 50 to 150 °C before being fired. The heat for drying is often waste heat from the kiln.

Kilns

Xhosa brickmaker at kiln near Ngcobo in 2007 Xhosa brickmaker at kiln near Ngcobo.jpg
Xhosa brickmaker at kiln near Ngcobo in 2007

In many modern brickworks, bricks are usually fired in a continuously fired tunnel kiln, in which the bricks are fired as they move slowly through the kiln on conveyors, rails, or kiln cars, which achieves a more consistent brick product. The bricks often have lime, ash, and organic matter added, which accelerates the burning process.

The other major kiln type is the Bull's Trench Kiln (BTK), based on a design developed by British engineer W. Bull in the late 19th century.

An oval or circular trench is dug, 6–9 metres wide, 2-2.5 metres deep, and 100–150 metres in circumference. A tall exhaust chimney is constructed in the centre. Half or more of the trench is filled with "green" (unfired) bricks which are stacked in an open lattice pattern to allow airflow. The lattice is capped with a roofing layer of finished brick.

In operation, new green bricks, along with roofing bricks, are stacked at one end of the brick pile. Historically, a stack of unfired bricks covered for protection from the weather was called a "hack". [22] Cooled finished bricks are removed from the other end for transport to their destinations. In the middle, the brick workers create a firing zone by dropping fuel (coal, wood, oil, debris, and so on) through access holes in the roof above the trench.

The advantage of the BTK design is a much greater energy efficiency compared with clamp or scove kilns. Sheet metal or boards are used to route the airflow through the brick lattice so that fresh air flows first through the recently burned bricks, heating the air, then through the active burning zone. The air continues through the green brick zone (pre-heating and drying the bricks), and finally out the chimney, where the rising gases create suction that pulls air through the system. The reuse of heated air yields savings in fuel cost.

As with the rail process, the BTK process is continuous. A half-dozen labourers working around the clock can fire approximately 15,000–25,000 bricks a day. Unlike the rail process, in the BTK process the bricks do not move. Instead, the locations at which the bricks are loaded, fired, and unloaded gradually rotate through the trench. [23]

Influences on colour

Yellow London Stocks at Waterloo station London stock brick (bridge).jpg
Yellow London Stocks at Waterloo station

The colour of fired clay bricks is influenced by the chemical and mineral content of the raw materials, the firing temperature, and the atmosphere in the kiln. For example, pink bricks are the result of a high iron content, white or yellow bricks have a higher lime content. Most bricks burn to various red hues; as the temperature is increased the colour moves through dark red, purple, and then to brown or grey at around 1,300 °C (2,372 °F). The names of bricks may reflect their origin and colour, such as London stock brick and Cambridgeshire White. Brick tinting may be performed to change the colour of bricks to blend-in areas of brickwork with the surrounding masonry.

An impervious and ornamental surface may be laid on brick either by salt glazing, in which salt is added during the burning process, or by the use of a slip, which is a glaze material into which the bricks are dipped. Subsequent reheating in the kiln fuses the slip into a glazed surface integral with the brick base.

Chemically set bricks

Chemically set bricks are not fired but may have the curing process accelerated by the application of heat and pressure in an autoclave.

Calcium-silicate bricks

Swedish Mexitegel is a sand-lime or lime-cement brick. Mexitegel.jpg
Swedish Mexitegel is a sand-lime or lime-cement brick.

Calcium-silicate bricks are also called sandlime or flintlime bricks, depending on their ingredients. Rather than being made with clay they are made with lime binding the silicate material. The raw materials for calcium-silicate bricks include lime mixed in a proportion of about 1 to 10 with sand, quartz, crushed flint, or crushed siliceous rock together with mineral colourants. The materials are mixed and left until the lime is completely hydrated; the mixture is then pressed into moulds and cured in an autoclave for three to fourteen hours to speed the chemical hardening. [24] The finished bricks are very accurate and uniform, although the sharp arrises need careful handling to avoid damage to brick and bricklayer. The bricks can be made in a variety of colours; white, black, buff, and grey-blues are common, and pastel shades can be achieved. This type of brick is common in Sweden, Belarus, Russia and other post-Soviet countries, especially in houses built or renovated in the 1970s. A version known as fly ash bricks, manufactured using fly ash, lime, and gypsum (known as the FaL-G process) are common in South Asia. Calcium-silicate bricks are also manufactured in Canada and the United States, and meet the criteria set forth in ASTM C73 – 10 Standard Specification for Calcium Silicate Brick (Sand-Lime Brick).

Concrete bricks

A concrete brick-making assembly line in Guilinyang Town, Hainan, China. This operation produces a pallet containing 42 bricks, approximately every 30 seconds. Brickworks in Hainan - cement vessel, maker, stacker 01.jpg
A concrete brick-making assembly line in Guilinyang Town, Hainan, China. This operation produces a pallet containing 42 bricks, approximately every 30 seconds.

Bricks formed from concrete are usually termed as blocks or concrete masonry unit, and are typically pale grey. They are made from a dry, small aggregate concrete which is formed in steel moulds by vibration and compaction in either an "egglayer" or static machine. The finished blocks are cured, rather than fired, using low-pressure steam. Concrete bricks and blocks are manufactured in a wide range of shapes, sizes and face treatments – a number of which simulate the appearance of clay bricks.

Concrete bricks are available in many colours and as an engineering brick made with sulfate-resisting Portland cement or equivalent. When made with adequate amount of cement they are suitable for harsh environments such as wet conditions and retaining walls. They are made to standards BS 6073, EN 771-3 or ASTM C55. Concrete bricks contract or shrink so they need movement joints every 5 to 6 metres, but are similar to other bricks of similar density in thermal and sound resistance and fire resistance. [24]

Compressed earth blocks

A brick kiln in India Brick kiln, Belawadi, Mysore.jpg
A brick kiln in India

Compressed earth blocks are made mostly from slightly moistened local soils compressed with a mechanical hydraulic press or manual lever press. A small amount of a cement binder may be added, resulting in a stabilised compressed earth block.

Types

This wall in Beacon Hill, Boston, shows different types of brickwork and stone foundations 2008 BeaconHill Boston 2302897829.jpg
This wall in Beacon Hill, Boston, shows different types of brickwork and stone foundations

There are thousands of types of bricks that are named for their use, size, forming method, origin, quality, texture, and/or materials.

Categorized by manufacture method:

Categorized by use:

Specialized use bricks:

Bricks named for place of origin:

Optimal dimensions, characteristics, and strength

Comparison of typical brick sizes of assorted countries with isometric projections and dimensions in millimetres Comparison house brick size.svg
Comparison of typical brick sizes of assorted countries with isometric projections and dimensions in millimetres

For efficient handling and laying, bricks must be small enough and light enough to be picked up by the bricklayer using one hand (leaving the other hand free for the trowel). Bricks are usually laid flat, and as a result, the effective limit on the width of a brick is set by the distance which can conveniently be spanned between the thumb and fingers of one hand, normally about 100 mm (4 in). In most cases, the length of a brick is twice its width plus the width of a mortar joint, about 200 mm (8 in) or slightly more. This allows bricks to be laid bonded in a structure which increases stability and strength (for an example, see the illustration of bricks laid in English bond, at the head of this article). The wall is built using alternating courses of stretchers, bricks laid longways, and headers, bricks laid crossways. The headers tie the wall together over its width. In fact, this wall is built in a variation of English bond called English cross bond where the successive layers of stretchers are displaced horizontally from each other by half a brick length. In true English bond, the perpendicular lines of the stretcher courses are in line with each other.

A bigger brick makes for a thicker (and thus more insulating) wall. Historically, this meant that bigger bricks were necessary in colder climates (see for instance the slightly larger size of the Russian brick in table below), while a smaller brick was adequate, and more economical, in warmer regions. A notable illustration of this correlation is the Green Gate in Gdansk; built in 1571 of imported Dutch brick, too small for the colder climate of Gdansk, it was notorious for being a chilly and drafty residence. Nowadays this is no longer an issue, as modern walls typically incorporate specialised insulation materials.

The correct brick for a job can be selected from a choice of colour, surface texture, density, weight, absorption, and pore structure, thermal characteristics, thermal and moisture movement, and fire resistance.

Face brick ("house brick") sizes, (alphabetical order)
StandardMetric (mm)Imperial (inches)
Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 230  mm × 110 mm × 76 mm9.1  in × 4.3 in × 3.0 in
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 240 × 155 × 539.4 × 6.1 × 2.1
Flag of Denmark.svg  Denmark 228 × 108 × 549.0 × 4.3 × 2.1
Flag of Germany.svg  Germany 240 × 115 × 719.4 × 4.5 × 2.8
Flag of India.svg  India 228 × 107 × 699.0 × 4.2 × 2.7
Flag of Japan.svg  Japan 210 × 100 × 608.3 × 3.9 × 2.4
Flag of Romania.svg  Romania 240 × 115 × 639.4 × 4.5 × 2.5
Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 250 × 120 × 659.8 × 4.7 × 2.6
Flag of South Africa.svg  South Africa 222 × 106 × 738.7 × 4.2 × 2.9
Flag of Sweden.svg  Sweden 250 × 120 × 629.8 × 4.7 × 2.4
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  United Kingdom 215 × 102.5 × 658.5 × 4.0 × 2.6
Flag of the United States.svg  United States 194 × 92 × 577.6 × 3.6 × 2.2

In England, the length and width of the common brick remained fairly constant from 1625 when the size was regulated by statute at 9 x 4+12 x 3 inches [25] (but see brick tax), but the depth has varied from about two inches (51 mm) or smaller in earlier times to about 2+12 inches (64 mm) more recently. In the United Kingdom, the usual size of a modern brick (from 1965) [26] is 215 mm × 102.5 mm × 65 mm (8+12 in × 4 in × 2+12 in), which, with a nominal 10 millimetres (38 in) mortar joint, forms a unit size of 225 by 112.5 by 75 millimetres (9 in × 4+12 in × 3 in), for a ratio of 6:3:2.

In the United States, modern standard bricks are specified for various uses; [27] The most commonly used is the modular brick has the actual dimensions of 7+58  × 3+58  × 2+14 inches (194 × 92 × 57 mm). With the standard 38 inch mortar joint, this gives the nominal dimensions of 8 x 4 x 2+23 inches which eases the calculation of the number of bricks in a given wall. [28] The 2:1 ratio of modular bricks means that when they turn corners, a 1/2 running bond is formed without needing to cut the brick down or fill the gap with a cut brick; and the height of modular bricks means that a soldier course matches the height of three modular running courses, or one standard CMU course.

Some brickmakers create innovative sizes and shapes for bricks used for plastering (and therefore not visible on the inside of the building) where their inherent mechanical properties are more important than their visual ones. [29] These bricks are usually slightly larger, but not as large as blocks and offer the following advantages:

Blocks have a much greater range of sizes. Standard co-ordinating sizes in length and height (in mm) include 400×200, 450×150, 450×200, 450×225, 450×300, 600×150, 600×200, and 600×225; depths (work size, mm) include 60, 75, 90, 100, 115, 140, 150, 190, 200, 225, and 250. They are usable across this range as they are lighter than clay bricks. The density of solid clay bricks is around 2000 kg/m3: this is reduced by frogging, hollow bricks, and so on, but aerated autoclaved concrete, even as a solid brick, can have densities in the range of 450–850 kg/m3.

Bricks may also be classified as solid (less than 25% perforations by volume, although the brick may be "frogged," having indentations on one of the longer faces), perforated (containing a pattern of small holes through the brick, removing no more than 25% of the volume), cellular (containing a pattern of holes removing more than 20% of the volume, but closed on one face), or hollow (containing a pattern of large holes removing more than 25% of the brick's volume). Blocks may be solid, cellular or hollow

The term "frog" can refer to the indentation or the implement used to make it. Modern brickmakers usually use plastic frogs but in the past they were made of wood.

The compressive strength of bricks produced in the United States ranges from about 7 to 103  MPa (1,000 to 15,000  lbf/in2 ), varying according to the use to which the brick are to be put. In England clay bricks can have strengths of up to 100 MPa, although a common house brick is likely to show a range of 20–40 MPa.

Uses

Bricked Front Street along the Cane River in historic Natchitoches, Louisiana Historic brick street in Natchitoches, LA IMG 1943.JPG
Bricked Front Street along the Cane River in historic Natchitoches, Louisiana

In the United States, bricks have been used for both buildings and pavements. Examples of brick use in buildings can be seen in colonial era buildings and other notable structures around the country. Bricks have been used in pavements especially during the late 19th century and early 20th century. The introduction of asphalt and concrete reduced the use of brick pavements, but they are still sometimes installed as a method of traffic calming or as a decorative surface in pedestrian precincts. For example, in the early 1900s, most of the streets in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, were paved with bricks. Today, there are only about 20 blocks of brick-paved streets remaining (totalling less than 0.5 percent of all the streets in the city limits). [30] Much like in Grand Rapids, municipalities across the United States began replacing brick streets with inexpensive asphalt concrete by the mid-20th century. [31]

Bricks in the metallurgy and glass industries are often used for lining furnaces, in particular refractory bricks such as silica, magnesia, chamotte and neutral (chromomagnesite) refractory bricks. This type of brick must have good thermal shock resistance, refractoriness under load, high melting point, and satisfactory porosity. There is a large refractory brick industry, especially in the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, Belgium and the Netherlands.

In Northwest Europe, bricks have been used in construction for centuries. Until recently, almost all houses were built almost entirely from bricks. Although many houses are now built using a mixture of concrete blocks and other materials, many houses are skinned with a layer of bricks on the outside for aesthetic appeal.

Engineering bricks are used where strength, low water porosity or acid (flue gas) resistance are needed.

In the UK a red brick university is one founded in the late 19th or early 20th century. The term is used to refer to such institutions collectively to distinguish them from the older Oxbridge institutions, and refers to the use of bricks, as opposed to stone, in their buildings.

Colombian architect Rogelio Salmona was noted for his extensive use of red bricks in his buildings and for using natural shapes like spirals, radial geometry and curves in his designs. [32] Most buildings in Colombia are made of brick, given the abundance of clay in equatorial countries like this one.

Limitations

Starting in the 20th century, the use of brickwork declined in some areas due to concerns about earthquakes. Earthquakes such as the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the 1933 Long Beach earthquake revealed the weaknesses of unreinforced brick masonry in earthquake-prone areas. During seismic events, the mortar cracks and crumbles, so that the bricks are no longer held together. Brick masonry with steel reinforcement, which helps hold the masonry together during earthquakes, has been used to replace unreinforced bricks in many buildings. Retrofitting older unreinforced masonry structures has been mandated in many jurisdictions.

San Francisco earthquake.jpg
A panorama after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

See also

Related Research Articles

Concrete Composite construction material

Concrete is a composite material composed of fine and coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement that hardens (cures) over time. In the past, lime based cement binders, such as lime putty, were often used but sometimes with other hydraulic cements, such as a calcium aluminate cement or with Portland cement to form Portland cement concrete. Many other non-cementitious types of concrete exist with other methods of binding aggregate together, including asphalt concrete with a bitumen binder, which is frequently used for road surfaces, and polymer concretes that use polymers as a binder. Concrete is distinct from mortar. Whereas concrete is itself a building material, mortar is a bonding agent that typically holds bricks, tiles and other masonry units together.

Masonry Building of structures from individual units of stone, brick, or block

Masonry is the building of structures from individual units, which are often laid in and bound together by mortar; the term masonry can also refer to the units themselves. The common materials of masonry construction are brick, building stone such as marble, granite, and limestone, cast stone, concrete block, glass block, and adobe. Masonry is generally a highly durable form of construction. However, the materials used, the quality of the mortar and workmanship, and the pattern in which the units are assembled can substantially affect the durability of the overall masonry construction. A person who constructs masonry is called a mason or bricklayer. These are both classified as construction trades.

Mortar (masonry)

Mortar is a workable paste which hardens to bind building blocks such as stones, bricks, and concrete masonry units, to fill and seal the irregular gaps between them, spread the weight of them evenly, and sometimes to add decorative colors or patterns to masonry walls. In its broadest sense, mortar includes pitch, asphalt, and soft mud or clay, as used between mud bricks. The word "mortar" comes from Old French mortier, "builder's mortar, plaster; bowl for mixing" (13c.).

Plaster General term for a broad range of building and sculpture materials

Plaster is a building material used for the protective or decorative coating of walls and ceilings and for moulding and casting decorative elements. In English, "plaster" usually means a material used for the interiors of buildings, while "render" commonly refers to external applications. Another imprecise term used for the material is stucco, which is also often used for plasterwork that is worked in some way to produce relief decoration, rather than flat surfaces.

Building material Material which is used for construction purposes

Building material is material used for construction. Many naturally occurring substances, such as clay, rocks, sand and wood, even twigs and leaves, have been used to construct buildings. Apart from naturally occurring materials, many man-made products are in use, some more and some less synthetic. The manufacturing of building materials is an established industry in many countries and the use of these materials is typically segmented into specific specialty trades, such as carpentry, insulation, plumbing, and roofing work. They provide the make-up of habitats and structures including homes.

This page is a list of construction topics.

Natural building

A natural building involves a range of building systems and materials that place major emphasis on sustainability. Ways of achieving sustainability through natural building focus on durability and the use of minimally processed, plentiful or renewable resources, as well as those that, while recycled or salvaged, produce healthy living environments and maintain indoor air quality. Natural building tends to rely on human labor, more than technology. As Michael G. Smith observes, it depends on "local ecology, geology and climate; on the character of the particular building site, and on the needs and personalities of the builders and users."

Lime (material) Calcium mineral

Lime is a calcium-containing inorganic mineral composed primarily of oxides, and hydroxide, usually calcium oxide and/ or calcium hydroxide. It is also the name for calcium oxide which occurs as a product of coal-seam fires and in altered limestone xenoliths in volcanic ejecta. The word lime originates with its earliest use as building mortar and has the sense of sticking or adhering.

Brickworks

A brickworks, also known as a brick factory, is a factory for the manufacturing of bricks, from clay or shale. Usually a brickworks is located on a clay bedrock, often with a quarry for clay on site.

London stock brick

London stock brick is the type of handmade brick which was used for the majority of building work in London and South East England until the growth in the use of Flettons and other machine-made bricks in the early 20th century. Its distinctive yellow colour and soft appearance come from the yellow local clay from which the bricks were made. London Stocks are still made in comparatively small quantities in traditional brickworks, mainly in Kent and Sussex, for heritage work, and machine-made versions are available for use where a cheaper approximation to the traditional product is acceptable. Red stock bricks are also fairly common, but only the yellow or brown coloured bricks are usually known as London stocks.

Lime mortar Building material

Lime mortar is composed of lime and an aggregate such as sand, mixed with water. The ancient Indians were the first to use lime mortars, which they used to plaster the Temples. In addition, the Egyptians also incorporated various limes into their religious temples as well as their homes. Indian traditional structures built with lime mortar, which are more than 4,000 years old like Mohenjo-daro is still a heritage monument of Indus valley civilization in Pakistan. It is one of the oldest known types of mortar also used in ancient Rome and Greece, when it largely replaced the clay and gypsum mortars common to ancient Egyptian construction.

Earth structure Building or other structure made largely from soil

An earth structure is a building or other structure made largely from soil. Since soil is a widely available material, it has been used in construction since prehistoric times. It may be combined with other materials, compressed and/or baked to add strength. Soil is still an economical material for many applications, and may have low environmental impact both during and after construction.

Architectural terracotta Fired clay construction material

Architectural terracotta refers to a fired mixture of clay and water that can be used in a non-structural, semi-structural, or structural capacity on the exterior or interior of a building. Terracotta pottery, as earthenware is called when not used for vessels, is an ancient building material that translates from Latin as "baked earth". Some architectural terracotta is actually the stronger stoneware. It can be unglazed, painted, slip glazed, or glazed. A piece of terracotta is composed of a hollow clay web enclosing a void space or cell. The cell can be installed in compression with mortar or hung with metal anchors. All cells are partially backfilled with mortar.

Rubble masonry

Rubble masonry is rough, uneven building stone set in mortar, but not laid in regular courses. It may appear as the outer surface of a wall or may fill the core of a wall which is faced with unit masonry such as brick or ashlar. Analogously, some medieval cathedral walls are outer shells of ashlar with an inner backfill of mortarless rubble and dirt.

The history of construction embraces many other fields like structural engineering, Civil engineering, cities growing and Population growth that are relatives to branches of Technology science, history, and architecture to investigate the buildings conservation and recorded their accomplishments. Those fields permit use to analyze modern or Latest construction and prehistoric constructions, as their structures, building Materials, and tools used.

Roman brick Style of brick used in Ancient Roman architecture

Roman brick can refer either to a type of brick used in Ancient Roman architecture and spread by the Romans to the lands they conquered; or to a modern type inspired by the ancient prototypes. In both cases, it characteristically has longer and flatter dimensions than those of standard modern bricks.

Structural material

Structural engineering depends on the knowledge of materials and their properties, in order to understand how different materials resist and support loads.

Types of concrete concrete technology used in building construction

Concrete is produced in a variety of compositions, finishes and performance characteristics to meet a wide range of needs.

Structural clay tile

Structural clay tile describes a category of burned-clay building materials used to construct roofing, walls, and flooring for structural and non-structural purposes, especially in fireproofing applications. Also called building tile, structural terra cotta, hollow tile, and clay block, the material is an extruded clay shape with substantial depth that allows it to be laid in the same manner as other clay or concrete masonry. In North America it was chiefly used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, reaching peak popularity at the turn of the century and declining around the 1950s. Structural clay tile grew in popularity in the end of the nineteenth-century because it could be constructed faster, was lighter, and required simpler flat falsework than earlier brick vaulting construction. Each unit is generally made of clay or terra-cotta with hollow cavities, or cells, inside it. The material is commonly used in floor arches, fireproofing, partition walls, and furring. It continues to be used in Europe to build fire-resistant walls and partitions. In North America the material has largely been replaced by concrete masonry units.

References

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Further reading