Introduction

The Brick and The Common Vein

Building Bricks and Building with Bricks

The brick is the basic building block of many structure around us.  It is made of many parts of the soil of the earth bound together by cement and created in an extremely hot environment.

 One of the major parts of soil in general and clay soil in this instance, is silicon dioxide (Si02).  Si02 is made from 1 part (atom) of Si and 2 parts of oxygen.  In the following text, the units to unity principle is applied to Si02, as one of the components that make up the brick.

Atoms

Silicon Atom (Courtesy Greg Robson)

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Covalent Bond 

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Oxygen Atom (Courtesy Greg Robson)
Oxygen Atom (Courtesy Greg Robson)

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Molecule

Silicon Dioxide

Silicon and oxygen bond by sharing electrons in their outer shells and thus create a new, molecule called silicon dioxide (Si02). The sharing of the outer electrons (valence electrons) is called covalent bonding.

The Si02 molecules bond with other Si02 molecule with very strong covalent bonds and weaker intermolecular (van der Waal) bonds.

Substance

Si02 molecule

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Covalent Bond

+

Si02 molecule

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Silicon Dioxide Molecules

 The compound silicon dioxide also known as silica is the second most abundant mineral in the crust of the earth.  Silicon dioxide is very hard. These properties result from the very strong covalent bonds that hold the silicon and oxygen atoms in the giant covalent structure.

Silicon dioxide most commonly found in nature as quartz.  It is found  in granite, and is the major compound of  sandstone. The sand on a beach is made mostly of silicon dioxid

Mixture

Bricks are manufactured from clay, which is a mixture of  substances including, SiO2  and other clay minerals in the  soil.  Examples of these minerals  include kaolin, smectite, iliite, and chlorite .

Beach Soil – largely SiO2 (Dave Nathani)

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Clay Minerals in the Soil

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Clay Fields Photo by David Lindbo

Creating Bricks from the Mixture

Bricks are made from clay. The clay is  bonded by cement (mortar).  The mixture is placed in a kiln and is subjected to  up to 2,000° F during the firing process.  The clay changes form as it dehydrates. The new anhydrous minerals contain interlocking (bonding) networks of mullite crystals, quartz, and some super-cooled liquid (glass).  Brick has compressive  strength, is durable, demonstrates thermal and sound insulation, is able to withstand severe weather, and is resistant to fire and wear.

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The Clinking Sound of Quality Brick

Bricks

Brick

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Bonding Cement

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Brick

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Wall

Wall
Wall

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Bonding Cement

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Wall

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Building

Building

The brick is to the wall, as the wall is to the building.

Building

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Road

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Building

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Town

Town or City