Abstract

The aim of this research was to assess the potential application of the Late Cretaceous levels as raw material for the production of ceramic tiles. Mineralogical, chemical and grain size distribution studies were carried out on four clays sampled at different sites in the Tunisian Central Atlas. Clays are mainly composed of phyllosilicates, usually illite and kaolinite. Quartz, feldspars and dolomite were also detected.

Tiles were prepared by pressing clay bodies at 250 bar and then firing at different temperatures following industrial conditions as closely as possible. Thermal analysis showed the influence of mineralogical composition and grain size distribution on the material behaviour during firing. The physical properties of fired tiles were obtained from specific tests in accordance with international standards (ISO), i.e. the firing shrinkage, water absorption, apparent density and flexural strength. The development of physical properties indicates an optimal firing range between 1050–1150°C. Results demonstrate the potential of Late Cretaceous materials as raw materials for the production of ceramic tiles.

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