How to check quality of bricks

Brick is materials indispensable in the construction. It used to building blocks of a building. If the quality of brick used in a structure is not good then it can lead to serious damages of building. Therefore it is necessary to check the quality of brick before using it in any construction activities. There are some field tests that we can conduct in the field in order to check the quality of bricks. These tests are as follows.

  1. Check the warping
  2. Water Absorption
  3. Visual inspection
  4. Efflorescence
  5. Dimension
  6. Hardness
  7. Soundness
  8. Structure


Field Tests on Brick to Check Quality

1.Check the warping.

Visual inspection will see the warping of bricks. Must be straight and flat. Brick have good color uniformity

2. Water Absorption

5 bricks are taken and the bricks are weighed dry and the average dry weight of 5 bricks is calculated. Bricks are then immersed in water for a period of 24 hours. After 24 hours of immersion, bricks are weighed again and average of 5 bricks is calculated. The difference of the final average weight and initial average weight indicates the amount of water absorbed by the bricks. It should not in any case exceed 20percent of average weight of dry bricks.

3. Visual Inspection

In this test bricks are closely inspected for its shape. The bricks of good quality should be uniform in shape and should have truly rectangular shape with sharp edges.

4. Efflorescence

This test should be conducted in a well ventilated room. The brick is placed vertically in a dish 30 cm x 20 cm approximately in size with 2.5 cm immersed in distilled water. The whole water is allowed to be absorbed by the brick and evaporated through it. After the bricks appear dry, a similar quantity of water is placed in the dish, and the water is allowed to evaporate as before. The brick is to be examined after the second evaporation and reported as follows:

  • Nil: When there is no perceptible deposit of salt
  • Slight: When not more than 10% of the area of brick is covered with salt
  • Moderate: When there is heavy deposit covering 50% of the area of the brick but unaccompanied by powdering or flaking of the surface.
  • Heavy: When there is heavy deposit covering more than 50% of the area of the brick accompanied by powdering or flaking of the surface.
  • Serious: When there is heavy deposit of salts accompanied by powdering and/or flaking of the surface and this deposition tends to increase in the repeated wetting of the specimen.

Bricks for general construction should not have more than slight to moderate efflorescence.

5. Dimensional Tolerance

Twenty bricks are selected at random to check measurement of length, width and height. These dimensions are to be measured in one or two lots of ten each as shown in figure. Variation in dimensions are allowed only within narrow limits, ±3% for class one and ±8% for other classes.

6. Hardness

In this test, a scratch is made on brick surface with the help of a finger nail. If no impression is left on the surface, brick is treated as to be sufficiently hard.

7. Soundness

Two bricks are taken, one in each hand, and they are struck with each other lightly. A brick of good quality should not break and a clear ringing sound should be produced.

8. Structure

A brick is broken and its structure is examined. It should be homogeneous, compact and free from any defects such as holes, lumps etc.

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