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Ceramics: a raw material of architecture
Already for more than 2,000 years, ceramics has been a “raw material of architecture“. Colored tiles and ceramic decorations were already used by the Etruscans in their buildings. The definition of ceramics stands for all inorganic non-metallic materials which are first shaped and fired afterwards.
Clay is the main component of ceramic tile masses and developed as a result of the weathering of rock containing feldspar (e.g. granite) due to exposure to wind, water and the seasonal temperature differences. This weathering took place millions of years ago in the Tertiary period. It is composed of fine-grained minerals, with the clay minerals (sheet silicates) lending the clay its plastic properties.
Due to the special requirements that have to be met with regard to the ceramic manufacturing process and also the product itself, other raw materials such as, for example, feldspar (15-25%), chamotte (10-20%) and kaolin (0-10%) must be added to the clays (50-70%). The preparation comprises the homogeneous mixing of all components. The obtained mass is further processed in the ceramic manufacturing process.
Concerning the shaping of tiles, basically two methods can be distinguished: on the one hand, the dry-pressing, and on the other hand, the extrusion. In the shaping process, the prepared mass – as granulate or in plastic state – is pressed in or through a mould under very high pressure. The choice of the respective shaping method depends on the desired properties of the finished product. AGROB BUCHTAL uses both methods.