A material known for a very long time, kaolin has been utilized by mankind in many aspects of life. That includes construction. Kaolin uses in construction have been extensive, especially with new findings. Some studies show how the mineral might be an answer to the environmental crisis that we face today.
Kaolin Uses in Construction Materials
The uses of kaolin in construction are diverse. Currently, they are used in combination with other common construction materials. Here are some materials for construction that are made out of kaolin:
1. Tiles and Pavers
Kaolin is often used to create tiles and pavers, and this tradition has been going for centuries. Due to the chemical structure of kaolin, you would be able to see interesting designs in kaolin tiles and pavers. They tend to have the characteristic pastel colors of kaolin. Experienced artists can create intricate details on their surfaces for aesthetics.
2. Metakaolin (Pozzolana Cement)
The clay mineral is also a chosen ingredient for pozzolana cement. This mineral is used in pozzolana cement due to its low iron and low alkali qualities. It would be a really strong binding agent when the cement is mixed with water and calcium hydroxide. It can replace the regular cement.
In the market, you will also find bricks made out of kaolin. It is a great choice of brick material because of its high melting point. The brick is able to resist heat up to a significant temperature. Additionally, bricks made out of kaolin tend to be more lightweight compared to other clay materials. The designs are also more varied.
Kaolin uses in construction also include fillers in other construction materials. It is usually mixed with other materials such as plastic, rubber, and paint, particularly during finishing. The addition improves the material’s tensile strength and dimensional reliability to the item. It would be able to withstand various environmental conditions better.
5. Calcined Kaolin (Refractory)
Calcined kaolin refers to kaolin that has been treated at an extremely high temperature. Usually, the kaolin will have a very bright color, leaning to white due to the treatment. It is commonly used in furnace construction. The material is a good insulator that would maintain heat spectacularly.
Why do People Need to Use Kaolin in Construction?
The use of kaolin in construction is nothing new. It was commonly used in the East, but the West has started to adapt the mineral for its construction. There are many reasons why it is a great construction material, especially in the current era:
1. It Reduces Cost of Construction Significantly
Kaolin uses in construction are often preferred because it is a relatively cheap material, especially with other materials like granites. This mineral is widely available all around the world and thus provides mining opportunities. With good and tight regulation, it is an affordable alternative for construction.
2. It Improves Construction Durability
Despite being lightweight and fine, kaolin is able to improve the durability of construction. When it binds with certain compounds, it can form a sturdy structure, not unlike cement. Thus, you will see the materials being used as fillers for other construction materials.
3. It Has Low Environmental Impact
The mining and manufacturing process of construction materials have become environmental issues for decades. They need to happen because the need for human settlement increases every year, but the process is harmful to the environment. The production of kaolin for construction is found to be significantly less harmful.
4. The Material is Recyclable
Another great thing about this material is its recyclability. Kaolin clay can be transformed into other useful products once its lifespan as construction materials has ended. The waste of construction materials has plagued the environment for years. Using recyclable material like kaolin would be able to alleviate the problems.
Moving Forward to Using Kaolin in Construction
The process of making kaolin utilization in construction more common is not as easy as it seems. As mentioned in the previous parts, some products have been well-established, but other potentials need to be explored. Scientists are exercising efforts to produce more innovative products out of kaolin.
Responsible development that has a low environmental impact is something that everyone should strive to achieve. Kaolin uses in construction provide hope that damage to the environment due to construction projects around the globe can be minimized in the future. Nonetheless, taking action as early as possible is really pivotal.