Engineering Bricks: Exploring Their Functions and Applications


Engineering bricks are not your typical bricks. Though they might share similarities with the standard-facing bricks, they are quite different and are utilised for unique purposes.

These bricks are prevalent but are not known for their wide array of styles, primarily because they are usually chosen for their functionality rather than appearance.

Engineering bricks play vital roles in construction, such as forming foundations and offering essential structural support. You will likely require them if you are engaged in a self-build project. But have you ever wondered what other purposes they might serve? Let’s delve into this subject.

Understanding Engineering Bricks

If you are unfamiliar with engineering bricks, here’s what you need to know:

What sets these bricks apart is their impressive compression strength, resilience, and low water absorption. Wire-cut by nature, they often exhibit a smooth, plain surface and fall into two main classes: Class A and Class B.

Class A bricks are robust, with a compression strength of 125 N/mm^2 and a water absorption rate of under 4.5%. Available in shades like blue, red, and grey, they are notoriously tough.

Class B engineering bricks, on the other hand, have slightly reduced compression strength at 75 N/mm^2 and a water absorption rate under 7%. They are predominantly found in red, blue, grey, and buff bricks; obtaining them should pose no issue.

Distinctive Features of Engineering Bricks

So, why opt for these bricks rather than standard-facing ones?

Consider a regular house construction. Secure foundations are paramount; for this, you need bricks that aren’t merely surface level.

Engineering bricks provide the high strength and durability needed to endure time. Moreover, using precious facing bricks for unseen foundations would be wasteful.

Unlike the diverse textures and porosity levels in standard bricks, the low water absorption of engineering bricks aids in damp reduction, thereby keeping a building dry.

Since aesthetics aren’t a priority for these bricks, they are often more economical than standard-facing bricks.

Manufacturing Process

A specialised manufacturing method achieves engineering bricks’ extraordinary strength and durability.

This includes firing the bricks at elevated temperatures and using specific clay known for its resilience. When heated at a controlled high temperature, the molecular structure solidifies.

The blue colouration in Class A bricks is no coincidence. Regular clay bricks turn blue when heated at high temperatures in a low-oxygen atmosphere, rendering the surface impervious.

Utilising Engineering Bricks as Facing Bricks

You might wonder if engineering bricks could be used as facing bricks for entire buildings or if Class B bricks could be chosen for aesthetics rather than function.

Generally, this is not done. With their unique visual appeal, standard clay bricks are often more suited to most residential constructions.

The natural weathering that occurs with standard-facing bricks is likely to give a more appealing appearance over the years compared to the rigid, practical look of engineering bricks.

However, nothing major prevents their use this way, and they could be a cost-effective construction choice if you appreciate their appearance.

Keep in mind the density of the bricks, as it might impact the mortar quantity used in bricklaying, though it should not pose significant problems.

Interestingly, if you wish to use them as facing bricks, they might be more appropriate for garages or sheds if you plan to build additional structures. The firm flat surface and distinct colour could lend an industrial or vintage vibe.

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