In this article, we are going to review the alternative to the most popular constructional building materials: a brick and a claydite building block. The technology for the production of a clay brick is the oldest construction materials manufacturing technology standing at nearly 5,000 years old. In order to manufacture clay bricks they use the most available raw materials, the reserves of which are becoming scarcer, i.e. organic soil for agricultural purposes, significant volumes of water, and predominantly non-renewable energy sources. The total worldwide brick production capacity is 1,500,000,000,000 units per year or 3,750 000,000 cubic meters. The production of expanded clay and expanded clay products began around 100 years ago, the same refers to raw materials resources. According to the European Expanded Clay Association (EXCA) the annual average production of expanded clay is approximately 7 million cubic meters per year including the volume of expanded clay concrete blocks of at least 1.2 million cu. meters. In the process of production evolution systems caused by competition and public requirements, the costs of power supply and resources have gradually been reduced. In relates to products manufacturer process society and science have placed more and more emphasis on environmental protection. Due to the fact that a brick and expanded clay concrete block are locally resourced materials, their production technologies have been evolving and virtually reached perfection in advanced countries. However, there have been no drastic changes in terms of efficient use of resources, energy efficiency, and environmental protection, while the energy costs of production of porous bricks are on average 1.8–2.2 GJ/cu. m. and those of expanded clay concrete blocks – at least 3.4 GJ/cu. m. There are ongoing and completed projects in the EU aimed at the development of alternative technologies for energy efficient- and environmentally-safe constructional building materials, some of which are listed here: SUS-CON, ECO-SEE, ECO-Binder, and BRIMEE. The analysis of all the above listed projects suggests that science community merely copy the technology of production of concrete, the difference being the aggregates and bonding agents. The proposed project “PROCESS” is based on advanced knowledge, new ideas and concepts, but not on a mere application or additional refinement of the existing ones. The project which is unparalleled in terms of its efficient use of resources, energy efficiency – 0.97 GJ/cu. m., and which has no adverse environmental footprint – there is no noise, dust, greenhouse gas emissions, and other harmful gases emissions. The technology implies the use of natural properties of certain rocks to increase in volume when volcanic lava goes through them. The rocks are brought to surface in the form of a pumice or volcanic tuff, which are generated without water and oxygen. These rocks – due to their physical and mechanical properties – are widely used and are very popular in the areas located close to the fields as constructional building materials. Such technology will undoubtedly be accepted in countries with any level of economic development and climatic conditions. The raw material’s capacity to swell up to five times in volume enables to reduce transportation costs and also enables to locate a production site as close to consumers as possible. The resulting material is a comfortable and porous ceramics which is an intermediate link between glass and ceramics. The approximate composition is quartz – 5%, spinel material – 8%, mullite – 3%, and X-ray amorphous stage – 84%. The raw material for the production is a well-known formation – (clay) slate: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slate_industry https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slate , and other rocks which are able to swell up. For more information about the technology please contact Eduard Kokaia for more details of technology.
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