Abstract

The Numidian Aquitano-Burdigalian nappe from the Jijel region (northeast Algeria) shows an important clay-rich basal series. In this study, seven representative clay samples were collected from the Djimla and El-Milia areas of this region in order to analyse their mineralogy using X-ray diffraction and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, chemical composition by X-ray fluorescence, particle size, plasticity, morphology by scanning electron microscopy and their ceramic properties. Samples were prepared by pressing the clays and firing them at 800–1100°C, and bulk density, water absorption, linear firing shrinkage, weight loss and bending strength values were determined on the fired samples. The clays are mainly composed of kaolinite and illite, with a small amount of 10–14 Å interstratified clay minerals and chlorite, associated with quartz and feldspars. The main oxides in the samples were SiO2, Al2O3 and Fe2O3. The clays may be classified as moderately plastic according to their Atterberg limits. Ceramic tiles have been produced by dry pressing. At all tested firing temperatures, the clays present the required standard values for linear firing shrinkage, weight loss, bulk density, water absorption and bending strength, and they are defect-free. The main transformations were observed at 1000°C with the appearance of new crystalline phases. The measured technological properties of the investigated deposits confirm that the Numidian clays from the Djimla and El-Milia regions are suitable materials for the production of high-quality structural ceramics.

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