The objective of this project is that of experimenting with the possibility of improving the mechanical characteristics and performance of selected ceramics materials for the building industry (ceramic floor and wall tile and sanitaryware) by applying the mechanism of fibre reinforcement.
Ceramic sanotaryware: the main result achieved is a technology, consisting in the addition of fibres of specified nature and characteristics to the body, as a mean to increase mechanical strength and fracture toughness (work of fracture) of unfired pieces, and consequently their reliability during the fabrication process.
Ceramic floor and wall tiles: the main result achieved is a technology, consisting in the addition of fibres of specified nature and characteristics to the body, as a mean to increase mechanical strength and fracture toughness of the finished (fired) products, and consequently their performance and reliability in working conditions. This has involved substantial changes, with respect to the conventional tile fabrication processes (e.g. the passage from dust pressing to slip casting). The conditions for industrial application have not been found in the framework of the project: the fibres experienced have an excessive cost, and therefore the cost/benefit ratio is at present not acceptable. The results achieved are therefore only lab scale results, which, however, enable a better understanding of the scientific phenomena and aspects involved, and represent a base for future R&D activities. The possibility of transferring the lab scale results achieved to industrial applications at a reasonable cost is considered by industry as a very important objective.
Conclusions: The objectives have not been achieved at a satisfactory level: in particular the industrial objectives, represented by the development and the industrial production of fibre reinforced ceramic products for building (floor and wall tiles and sanitaryware) have failed. However, important experiences have been gathered and basic concepts have been discovered and understood, which ensure a signifcant progress with respect to the state-of-the-art, from the scientific and technical point of view.
ST4 7LQ Stoke-on-trent
6201 BB Maastricht
41049 Sassuolo (Modena)