The Chemistry of Bricks

Introduction

YouTube Video

Bricks are fundamental for construction and as test of strength, speed and skill. For a long time the art of breaking has been used in the martial arts to demonstrate one's level of skill with a technique. If one does not have sufficient skill when attempting a break, they are more likely to break their own bones instead of the material. I have been in the martial arts for nine years now so I have a pretty good understanding of how to to break, but what they don’t teach you in the martial arts is the chemistry of the break. What chemistry enables you to break the brick and not your bones? It turns out there is some very complicated chemistry going on in the brick. On this page I will do my best to show the chemistry of bricks.

Composition of ...
  1. Tricalcium silicate (Ca3SiO5 or 3CaO.SiO2)

  2. Dicalcium silicate (Ca2SiO4 or 2CaO.SiO2)

  3. Tricalcium aluminate (Ca3Al2O6 or 3CaO .Al2O3)

  4. Tetracalcium aluminoferrite (Ca4Al2Fe2O10 or 4CaO.Al2O3.Fe2O3)

  5. Gypsum (CaSO4.2H2O)

  6. ettringite (Ca6Al2(SO4)3(OH)12)


Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

  1. Water

  2. Cement

Chemistry's Role


Each of the chemicals listed in the composition undergoes a hydration reaction when mixed with water.

Ca3O5Si + 2H2O    -->    2 CaO +  SiO2 +  H2O +  Ca(OH)2   ∆H=-250J/g   → The hydration reaction of Calcium Silicates

       gypsum↓                            ettringite↓

Ca3Al2O6+CaSO4.2H2O+H2O →  Ca6Al2(SO4)3(OH)12·+26H2O



Ca4Al2Fe2O10+ C6(A,F) Š3H32 → 3C4(A,F)ŠH12 + (F,A)H3 → the hydration reaction of Calcium Aluminoferrites

Background Research

Cement bricks are made by mixing water and cement and the pouring the mix into a mod and wait for it to dry. Bricks are mainly used in construction but are also used in the martial arts.

Resources

http://matse1.matse.illinois.edu/concrete/prin.html

How Portland cement is made and some of it properties.


http://www.cement.org/cement-concrete-basics/how-concrete-is-made

How cement is proportioned and how that affects the quality.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concrete

An overview of the history of cement. 


http://iti.northwestern.edu/cement/monograph/Monograph5_3.html

The Hydration reactions.


http://www.engr.psu.edu/ce/courses/ce584/concrete/library/construction/curing/Composition%20of%20cement.html

The composition of cement.


http://www.innerbody.com/image/skel13.html

A description of the human hand and wrist


http://www.doitpoms.ac.uk/tlplib/bones/structure.php

the composition of Bones


http://www.dontow.com/2008/06/the-physics-of-martial-arts-breaking-boards/

the physics of breaking bricks. (may not be relevant but could be useful)


http://people.ce.gatech.edu/~kk92/hyd07.pdf


About the Author


Rhys Sunderland is a junior at Senior High School in Billings, Mt. He has a 2nd degree black-belt in Chi-Tu-Do, and a 1st degree black-belt in Shiho-Karano Jiu Jitsu. He plans on joining the Marines after high school and then going to college for an Engineering degree. After getting a degree, he plans on re enlisting in the marines in hopes of becoming a fighter pilot.
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