A powder that makes miracles

sm_ladrillos_mejorados The brick-maker prepares the next burning in his rustic oven, but this time there is a difference in his routine: into the moist clay he will mix a very fine white powder given to him by a young researcher from CIDEM who is visiting his workshop. The young man explains that implementation of this material, baptized by a countryside brick-maker as PROVID, will bring about significant savings in the production process, because of its properties as a fluxing material. While the brick-maker had his doubts, his curiosity stimulated his trying the new product. 

By Prof. Dr. Fernando Martirena

Fluxing materials are materials that modify the mineralogical properties of clays and bring about the process that causes the hardening of the bricks during the burning, scientifically known as "sintering", occurs at lower temperatures and in less time. Thus, it is possible to achieve significant savings in brick production by reducing the consumption of energy during fabrication.

Arq. Dania Betancourt This product is the result of more than 6 years of work of a scientific team at CIDEM, where architect Dania Betancourt stands out, and who shortly will defend her thesis in Havana to obtain the degree of Doctor of Technical Sciences. As well, Dr. Robert Day of the University of Calgary in Canada has provided valuable cooperation.

The first positive judgment of results were obtained in Cuba in 2004. At that time it was decided to protect this product as intellectual property, and the process of registering the patent in Cuba and Canada began (Patent No. VC2004-0034, registered June 15, 2004). This will formally allow that the favourable qualities of this product always be used under the supervision of and with the authorization of the owners of the patent, in this case a team from CIDEM and the University of Calgary.

PROVID can be produced a very low cost with waste materials from certain productive activities. To grind it equipment developed and commercialized by EcoSur can be used, such as the MB-600 ball mill. Its use does not introduce substantial modifications in the brick production process.

The best range of application has been determined as between 2-5% of the weight of the clay used, depending upon its characteristics. It use has brought about reduction of burning temperatures, usually in the area of 1100 oC, to less than 900 oC. In many cases a time reduction of more than 50% also has been reported and, in all cases, the bricks produced are between 30-50% more resistant than bricks without PROVID. Onsite production plant applications of this product have demonstrated its functional efficiency. Recent trials made in an important brick factory in Ecuador have provided most satisfactory results, and ways are being studied to augment its production and application.

This time the brick-maker will be able to ascertain with satisfaction the results of using this marvellous powder, which not only brings about a noticeable reduction in production costs, but also improves the quality of his bricks, together leading to economic benefits. He has insistently solicited from the young researcher to supply more batches of PROVID, a product that from now on will become part of his customary primer material.


You are here: Home Past editions Edition 23 - December 2006 A powder that makes miracles


Peter Arndt
Social worker and Mechanical technician
German, English, Spanish
Project administration and management, social organization, mechanical innovation


Horno  Vertical Contínuo

Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln - VSBK unloading mechanism
Read more ...