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Book Chapter

1. Introduction

Published:
January 01, 2006

Abstract

Clay, noun. Old English Claég. A stiff viscous earth. (Blackies Compact Etymological Dictionary. Blackie & Son, London and Glasgow. 1946. War Economy Standard)

Clay: The original Indo-European word was ‘gloi-’, ‘gli-’ from which came ‘glue’ and ‘gluten’. In Germanic this became ‘klai’, and the Old English ‘claeg’ became Modern English ‘clay’. From the same source came ‘clammy’ and the northern England dialect ‘claggy’ all of which describe a similar sticky consistency. (Oxford English Dictionary and Ayto’s Dictionary of Word Origins, Bloomsbury, 1999)

Clay: from Old Greek γλi;α, γλοi;α “glue”, γλi;υή “slime, mucus”, γλοi;ός “anything sticky” from I.-E. base *glei-, *gli- ‘to glue, paste stick together (Klein E. A comprehensive etymological dictionary of the English language. Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1967; Skeat W. An etymological dictionary of the English language. Oxford University Press, 1961; Mann S.E. An Indo-European comparative dictionary, Buske Verlag, Hamburg, 1987)

1.1. Clay

Definitions of clay are given in Section 1.2. The uses of clay are ubiquitous and diverse. On a world scale, clay is of major economic significance, touching virtually every aspect of our everyday lives, from medicines to cosmetics and from paper to cups and saucers. It is very difficult to over-estimate its use and importance. The treatment of clay in this book is therefore wide ranging to reflect this situation.

The occurrence of clay is also ubiquitous and diverse (see Text Box below) and, with its various mineral species, properties and behavioural characteristics, the industrial applications of clay are thus manifold and complex. As well as their traditional major uses for brickmaking, pottery and porcelain manufacture, refractories and the fulling of cloth, clays are now used for refining edible oils, fats and hydrocarbon oils, in oil well drilling and synthetic moulding sands, in the manufacture of emulsified products in paper and, as noted in Chapters 13, 14 and 15, many hundreds of other uses, including medicine, cosmetics and, on a larger scale, as fillers, as well as many uses in geotechnical engineering e.g. for grouts, membranes etc.

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Contents

Geological Society, London, Engineering Geology Special Publications

Clay Materials Used in Construction

G. M. Reeves
G. M. Reeves
UHI Millennium Institute, Thurso, UK
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I. Sims
I. Sims
STATS Limited, St Albans, UK
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J. C. Cripps
J. C. Cripps
University of Sheffield, UK
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Geological Society of London
Volume
21
ISBN electronic:
9781862393837
Publication date:
January 01, 2006

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