Compressive strength and microstructural analysis of unfired clay masonry bricks

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This paper reports on the compressive strength and microstructure of unfired clay masonry bricks. Blended binders comprising of lime-activated Ground Granulated Blastfurnace Slag (GGBS) and Portland Cement (PC)-activated GGBS were used to stabilise Lower Oxford Clay (LOC) for unfired masonry brick production. The compressive strength of the stabilised bricks incorporating lime–GGBS–LOC was higher than that of PC–GGBS–LOC. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with a Solid-state Backscattered Detector (SBD) and Energy Dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis was employed to obtain a view of the microstructure and to conduct an analysis on the morphology and composition of the dried unfired clay brick samples, after 28 days of moist curing. The analytical results together with the physical observations have shown the formation of Calcium Silicate Hydrate (C-S-H) gel and additional pozzolanic (C-S-H) gel. The quantification of the compound content of the unfired bricks showed the presence of Calcite (CaCO3), Quartz (SiO2), Alumina (Al2O3) and Wollastonite (CaSiO8) crystals. Traces of other crystals were also detected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230 - 240
Number of pages10
JournalEngineering Geology
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2009


  • microstructure
  • hydration
  • clay
  • masonry
  • bricks
  • compressive strength
  • granulated blast furnace slag


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