Project dates: 2017 - Ongoing
This project aims to develop new and improved bricks for the household consumer and building construction markets with the consideration of energy efficiency in production. The project will use pilot trials to demonstrate that current production methods can be modified to generate improved brick qualities and energy efficiency by including suitable amounts of locally sourced industrial minerals as surface finishes or bulk additives.
Existing and undeveloped sources of industrial minerals – clays and oxides – such as kaolinite, hematite, magnetite, pyrolusite, diatomite and pyrophyllite will be evaluated to impart new properties for specialised consumer needs. Adding low quality or waste minerals (e.g., alumina and recycled bricks) to these processes may provide specific properties of value such as low thermal conductivity or improved compressive strength. The project will also evaluate as yet undeveloped mineral deposits for potential use in the broader construction industry (e.g., concrete/cement; pavers; dimension stone) or other industries.
The project’s industry partner, Brickworks Ltd, is a major manufacturer of consumer building products in Australia and operates or holds permits to extract a range of industrial mineral deposits in Queensland. The demand for innovative consumer products in highly competitive markets and the expansion of business to profitably use these natural resources is a key driver for this R&D project.
Through this Advance Queensland Fellowship project, Brickworks Ltd has made several significant milestones for performance improvements in raw materials and new products at its Rochedale factory in Brisbane. Improved understanding of clay mineralogy and particle behaviour in the unfired (green) state of brick and then through firing processes has created more than $3 million annual value to the company through energy savings and improved products.
Funding / Grants
- Advance Queensland Research Fellowship (2017 - 2021)
Other Team Members
- Wang, Sen, Gainey, Lloyd, Baxter, Daniel, Wang, Tony, Mackinnon, Ian, Xi, Yunfei (2021) Thermal behaviours of clay mixtures during brick firing: A combined study of in-situ XRD, TGA and thermal dilatometry Construction and Building Materials, 299, pp.Article number: 124319.