Clay conditioners can bring several benefits to your production process, but how can you measure effectively its effects on your specific process? We have asked this question to our R&D experts in the ceramic lab and this is what they have answered.
For many years, bentonite has been introduced in ceramic bodies to enhance plasticity in an economic way. However, its use in ceramics is not only bringing advantages but also some inconveniences related to its ability to increase plasticity. Its layer structure is responsible for these properties.
One of the most frequently asked questions we get is where to introduce the clay additive during the manufacturing process. This month we will recommend you where to place your conditioner.
Tile sizes have been increasing lately not only because large tiles have become a trend, also because of the improvement in the technology that allows to make these tiles. In some of our blog posts we already talked about trends in the market and about avoiding breakage in large tiles but, how big can a tile reach to be?
It has been agreed by a lot of people that this edition has been the best so far, at least along this century. Lots of new products, designs and all of them below a new sustainability umbrella that is the new flagship of the industry.
Bentonite has been used in ceramics for many years due to the way it performs in terms of plasticity and workability. Nonetheless, there are some alternative approaches that may ease its replacement, as they show some undesirable side effects when introduced into formulations.
The pressing stage is one of the most demanding in the production of ceramic bodies. Therefore, gaining any improvements here is directly translated into savings along the production process. These improvements will help to optimize the total costs of the manufactured products by reducing losses whilst improving the quality of the shaped materials.
One of the main challenges of the Ceramic Industry is related to the lack of good quality plastic clays. Though there are many reliable sources, its cost is banning industrial usages, especially in a moment when tiles are becoming larger and larger. Furthermore, if we consider how market is moving towards higher performance requirements, this situation is not showing any ways of changing
Plasticity is the characteristic behaviour of a ceramic material to become permanently deformed after the application of an external force. This property is the most characteristic one in clays, and there are some factors that influence the plasticity and they should be considered in plasticity measurements:
- Water physical characteristics like, viscosity, surface tension…
- Particle size distribution of the solid sample and its specific surface
- Chemical and mineralogical composition of samples
- Effect of the additives added to the clay/water system
- Sample temperature
- The way to prepare the sample, particularly the energy used to mix and to process clay, water & additives
Plasticity is defined as the capacity to be deformed without being broken. Many methods available to measure it, and they are classified into two groups: direct and indirect methods.
Table1. Direct and indirect plasticity methods.
Clay body formulation has been in a continuous evolution since the modern-day tile industry trended towards large and more aesthetic in appearance. This evolution is calling for adjustments to achieve required performances whilst optimizing production costs.