Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Introduction of Bricks - Brickwork superior or inferior to stonework??

General: The bricks are manufactured by moulding the clay in the rectangular blocks of uniform size and then by drying and burning these blocks. Bricks are easy to work with because of their uniform size and light weight. They do not require the dressing and the brickwork can be done by the non-skilled workers. Stones are not easily available so if clay is available bricks can be manufactured and utilized.
The bricks are very old Civil engineering material which were utilized in many historical buildings of the Roman Empire and also in the Chinese Civilization burnt bricks and Sun dried bricks were utilized to construct the Great Wall of China (210 B.C.). Wood was used earlier but due to its fire catching risks it was replaced with the bricks. The great fire of the London in 1666, converted the city from the wooden city to the brick city.
According to the data provided in a book titled “Engineering Materials” by India has more than about 45000 local kilns and has a capacity of about 10,000 crores of brick production. Further it says that this sector is un-organized so there are not many improvements in the methods of manufacturing and technology utilized for the manufacturing of bricks. The fuel cost is high so one cannot care much about the quality of the bricks.
Is brickwork better than stonework?
It is superior to stone work in the following ways:
  • Bricks are easily available at many places but building stones are not easily available everywhere.
  • The brickwork can be can out by the less skilled workers so the cost of construction can be reduced due to the lower wages to be paid.
  • Light weight bricks can be easily lifted but other materials requires mechanical ways.
  • Bricks can be manufactured to resist higher temperatures as compared to the stones.
  • Similarly higher durability bricks can be manufactured which can prove to be more durable than the stones.
  • Bricks need thin mortar joint so the structure becomes more durable.
  • Connections and openings can be constructed easily in case of the brickwork than stonework.
Brickwork is inferior to the stone work in the following ways:

  • Bricks absorb more moisture as compared to the stone, so it may result in the dampness of the building.
  • For monumental structures the stone create a solid appearance which bricks cannot create, in those cases the stones are useful than the brickwork.
  • The stonework has more strength.
  • The stone work is cheaper at places when the stones are easily available.

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