AskDefine | Define brick

Dictionary Definition

brick

Noun

1 rectangular block of clay baked by the sun or in a kiln; used as a building or paving material
2 a good fellow; helpful and trustworthy

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

Noun

  1. A hardened rectangular block of mud, clay, etc, used for building.
    This house is made of bricks.
  2. Considered collectively, as a building material.
    This house is made of brick.
  3. Something shaped like a brick.
    A plastic explosive brick
  4. A helpful and reliable person
    Thanks for helping me wash the car. You're a brick.
  5. An electronic device, especially a heavy box-shaped one, that has become non-functional or obsolete.
  6. A shot which misses, particularly one which bounces directly out of the basket because of a too-flat trajectory. as if the ball were a heavy object.
    We can't win if we keep throwing up bricks from three-point land.
  7. A power brick; an external power supply consisting of a small box with an integral male power plug and an attached electric cord terminating in a power plug.
hardened block used for building
a building material
term of endearment
checktrans-top ]]

Adjective

  1. Made of brick.
    All that was left after the fire was the brick chimney.

Translations

made of brick

Verb

  1. To build with bricks.
    • 1904, Thomas Hansom Cockin, An Elementary Class-Book of Practical Coal-Mining, C. Lockwood and Son, page 78
      If the ground is strong right up to the surface, a few yards are usually sunk and bricked before the engines and pit top are erected
    • 1914, The Mining Engineer, Institution of Mining Engineers, page 349
      The shaft was next bricked between the decks until the top scaffold was supported by the brickwork and [made] to share the weight with the prids.
  2. To make into bricks.
    • 1904 September 15, James C. Bennett, Walter Renton Ingalls (editor), Lead Smelting and Refining with Some Notes on Lead Mining (1906), The Engineering and Mining Journal, page 66
      The plant, which is here described, for bricking fine ores and flue dust, was designed and the plans produced in the engineering department of the Selby smelter.
  3. To hit someone using a brick.
  4. To make an electronic device nonfunctional and usually unrepairable.
    My VCR was bricked during the lightning storm.
    • 2007 December 14, Joe Barr, “PacketProtector turns SOHO router into security powerhouse”, Linux.com
      installing third-party firmware will void your warranty, and it is possible that you may brick your router.
  5. To be in a high state of anxiety: "Bricking it"

See also

External links

French

Etymology

From English brig.

Pronunciation

/bʀik/

Noun

fr-noun m
  1. Brig.
  2. A fritter with a filling.

Extensive Definition

A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, laid using mortar.

History

The oldest shaped bricks found date back to 7,500 B.C. They have been found in Çayönü, a place located in the upper Tigris area, and in south east Anatolia close to Diyarbakir. Other more recent findings, dated between 7,000 and 6,395 B.C., come from Jericho and Catal Hüyük. From archaeological evidence, the inven­tion of the fired brick (as opposed to the consid­erably earlier sun-dried mud brick) is believed to have arisen in about the third millennium BC in the Middle East. Being much more resistant to cold and moist weather conditions, brick enabled the construction of permanent buildings in regions where the harsher climate precluded the use of mud bricks. Bricks have the added warmth benefit of slowly storing heat energy from the sun during the day and continuing to release heat for several hours after sunset.
The Ancient Egyptians and the Indus Valley Civilization also used mudbrick extensively, as can be seen in the ruins of Buhen, Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, for example. In the Indus Valley Civilization all bricks corresponded to sizes in a perfect ratio of 4:2:1.
In Sumerian times offerings of food and drink were presented to "the Bone god," who was "rep­resented in the ritual by the first brick." More recently, mortar for the foundations of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was mixed with "a broth of barley and bark of elm" and sacred relics, accom­panied by prayers, placed between every 12 bricks.
The Romans made use of fired bricks, and the Roman legions, which operated mobile kilns, introduced bricks to many parts of the empire. Roman bricks are often stamped with the mark of the legion that supervised its production. The use of bricks in Southern and Western Germany, for example, can be traced back to traditions already described by the Roman architect Vitruvius.
In pre-modern China, brick-making was the job of a lowly and unskilled artisan, but a kilnmaster was respected as a step above the latter. Early descriptions of the production process and glazing techniques used for bricks can be found in the Song Dynasty carpenter's manual Yingzao Fashi, published in 1103 by the government official Li Jie, who was put in charge of overseeing public works for the central government's construction agency. The historian Timothy Brook writes of the production process in Ming Dynasty China (aided with visual illustrations from the Tiangong Kaiwu encyclopedic text published in 1637):
...the kilnmaster had to make sure that the temperature inside the kiln stayed at a level that caused the clay to shimmer with the color of molten gold or silver. He also had to know when to quench the kiln with water so as to produce the surface glaze. To anonymous laborers fell the less skilled stages of brick production: mixing clay and water, driving oxen over the mixture to trample it into a thick paste, scooping the paste into standardized wooden frames (to produce a brick roughly 42 centimeters long, 20 centimeters wide, and 10 centimeters thick), smoothing the surfaces with a wire-strung bow, removing them from the frames, printing the fronts and backs with stamps that indicated where the bricks came from and who made them, loading the kilns with fuel (likelier wood than coal), stacking the bricks in the kiln, removing them to cool while the kilns were still hot, and bundling them into pallets for transportation. It was hot, filthy work.
The idea of signing one's name on one's work and signifying the place where the product was made—in this case, bricks—was nothing new to the Ming era and had little or nothing to do with vanity. As far back as the Qin Dynasty (221 BC–206 BC), the government required blacksmiths and weapon-makers to engrave their names onto weapons in order to trace the weapon back to them, lest their weapons should prove to be of a lower quality than the standard required by the government.
In the 12th century, bricks from Northern Italy were re-introduced to Northern Germany, where an independent tradition evolved. It culminated in the so-called brick Gothic, a reduced style of Gothic architecture that flourished in Northern Europe, especially in the regions around the Baltic Sea which are without natural rock resources. Brick Gothic buildings, which are built almost exclusively of bricks, are to be found in Denmark, Germany, Poland and Russia.
During the Renaissance and the Baroque, visible brick walls were unpopular and the brickwork was often covered with plaster. It was only during the mid-18th century that visible brick walls regained some degree of popularity, as illustrated by the Dutch Quarter of Potsdam, for example. The transport in bulk of building materials such as paper over long distances was rare before the age of canals, railways, roads and heavy goods vehicles. Before this time bricks were generally made as close as possible to their point of intended use. It has been estimated that in England in the eighteenth century carrying bricks by horse and cart for ten miles (16 km) over the poor roads then existing could more than double their price.
Bricks were often used, even in areas where stone was available, for reasons of speed and economy. The buildings of the Industrial Revolution in Britain were largely constructed of brick and timber due to the unprecedented demand created. Again, during the building boom of the nineteenth century in the eastern seaboard cities of Boston and New York, for example, locally made bricks were often used in construction in preference to the brownstones of New Jersey and Connecticut for these reasons.
The trend of building upwards for offices that emerged towards the end of the 19th century displaced brick in favor of cast and wrought iron and later steel and concrete. Some early 'skyscrapers' were made in masonry, and demonstrated the limitations of the material - for example, the Monadnock Building in Chicago (opened in 1896) is masonry and just seventeen stories high, the ground walls are almost 1.8 meters thick, clearly building any higher would lead to excessive loss of internal floor space on the lower floors. Brick was revived for high structures in the 1950s following work by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and the Building Research Establishment in Watford, UK. This method produced eighteen story structures with bearing walls no thicker than a single brick (150-225 mm). This potential has not been fully developed because of the ease and speed in building with other materials, in the late-20th century brick was confined to low- or medium-rise structures or as a thin decorative cladding over concrete-and-steel buildings or for internal non-loadbearing walls.

Methods of manufacture

Bricks may be made from clay, shale, soft slate, calcium silicate, concrete, or shaped from quarried stone.
Clay is the most common material, with modern clay bricks formed in one of three processes - soft mud, dry press, or extruded.
In 2007 a new type of brick was invented, based on fly ash, a by-product of coal power plants.

Mud bricks

The soft mud method is the most common, as it is the most economical. It starts with the raw clay, preferably in a mix with 25-30% sand to reduce shrinkage. The clay is first ground and mixed with water to the desired consistency. The clay is then pressed into steel moulds with a hydraulic press. The shaped clay is then fired ("burned") at 900-1000 °C to achieve strength.

Rail kilns

In modern brickworks, this is usually done in a continuously fired tunnel kiln, in which the bricks move slowly through the kiln on conveyors, rails, or kiln cars to achieve consistency for all bricks. The bricks often have added lime, ash, and organic matter to speed the burning.

Bull's Trench Kilns

In Pakistan and India, brick making is typically a manual process. The most common type of brick kiln in use there are Bull's Trench Kiln (BTK), based on a design developed by British engineer W. Bull in the late 1800s.
An oval or circular trench, 6-9 meters wide, 2-2.5 meters deep, and 100-150 meters in circumference, is dug in a suitable location. A tall exhaust chimney is constructed in the center. Half or more of the trench is filled with "green" (unfired) bricks which are stacked in an open lattice pattern to allow airflow. The lattice is capped with a roofing layer of finished brick.
In operation, new green bricks, along with roofing bricks, are stacked at one end of the brick pile; cooled finished bricks are removed from the other end for transport. In the middle the brickworkers create a firing zone by dropping fuel (coal, wood, oil, debris, etc) through access holes in the roof above the trench.
The advantage of the BTK design is a much greater energy efficiency compared with clamp or scove kilns. Sheet metal or boards are used to route the airflow through the brick lattice so that fresh air flows first through the recently burned bricks, heating the air, then through the active burning zone. The air continues through the green brick zone (pre-heating and drying them), and finally out the chimney where the rising gases create suction which pulls air through the system. The reuse of heated air yields a considerable savings in fuel cost.
As with the rail process above, the BTK process is continuous. A half dozen laborers working around the clock can fire approximately 15,000-25,000 bricks a day. Unlike the rail process, in the BTK process the bricks do not move. Instead, the locations at which the bricks are loaded, fired, and unloaded gradually rotate through the trench.

Dry pressed bricks

The dry press method is similar to mud brick but starts with a much thicker clay mix, so it forms more accurate, sharper-edged bricks. The greater force in pressing and the longer burn make this method more expensive.

Extruded bricks

In extruded bricks the clay mix is 20-25% water, this is forced through a die to create a long cable of material of the proper width and depth. This is then cut into bricks of the desired length by a wall of wires. Most structural bricks are made by this method, as hard dense bricks result, and holes or other perforations can be produced by the die. The introduction of holes reduces the needed volume of clay through the whole process, with the consequent reduction in cost. The bricks are lighter and easier to handle, and have thermal properties different from solid bricks. The cut bricks are hardened by drying for between 20 and 40 hours at 50-150 °C before being fired. The heat for drying is often waste heat from the kiln.

Calcium silicate bricks

The raw materials for calcium silicate bricks include lime mixed with quartz, crushed flint or crushed siliceous rock together with mineral colorants. The materials are mixed and left until the lime is completely hydrated, the mixture is then pressed into moulds and cured in an autoclave for two or three hours to speed the chemical hardening. The finished bricks are very accurate and uniform, although the sharp arrises need careful handling to avoid damage to brick (and brick-layer). The bricks can be made in a variety of colours, white is common but a wide range of "pastel" shades can be achieved..

Fly ash bricks

In May 2007, Haoxaing Fei, a retired civil engineer, announced that he had invented a new brick composed of fly ash and water compressed at 4,000 psi (27,939 kPa) for two weeks. Owing to the high concentration of calcium oxide in fly ash, the brick is considered "self-cementing". The brick is toughened using an air entrainment agent, which traps microscopic bubbles inside the brick so that it resists penetration by water, allowing it to withstand up to 100 freeze-thaw cycles. Since the manufacturing method uses a waste by-product rather than clay, and solidification takes place under pressure rather than heat, it has several important environmental benefits. It saves energy, reduces mercury pollution, alleviates the need for landfill disposal of fly ash, and costs 20% less than traditional clay brick manufacture. Liu intends to license his technology to manufacturers in 2008.

Influence on fired colour

The fired colour of clay bricks is significantly influenced by the chemical and mineral content of raw materials, the firing temperature and the atmosphere in the kiln. For example pink coloured bricks are the result of a high iron content, white or yellow bricks have a higher lime content. Most bricks burn to various red hues, if the temperature is increased the colour moves through dark red, purple and then to brown or grey at around 1300 °C. Calcium silicate bricks have a wider range of shades and colours, depending on the colorants used.
Bricks formed from concrete are usually termed blocks, and are typically pale grey in colour. They are made from a dry, small aggregate concrete which is formed in steel moulds by vibration and compaction in either an "egglayer" or static machine. The finished blocks are cured rather than fired using low-pressure steam. Concrete blocks are manufactured in a much wider range of shapes and sizes than clay bricks and are also available with a wider range of face treatments - a number of which are to simulate the appearance of clay bricks.
An impervious and ornamental surface may be laid on brick either by salt glazing, in which salt is added during the burning process, or by the use of a "slip," which is a glaze material into which the bricks are dipped. Subsequent reheating in the kiln fuses the slip into a glazed surface integral with the brick base.
Natural stone bricks are of limited modern utility, due to their enormous comparative mass, the consequent foundation needs, and the time-consuming and skilled labour needed in their construction and laying. They are very durable and considered more handsome than clay bricks. Only a few stones are suitable for bricks. Common materials are granite, limestone and sandstone. Other stones may be used (e.g. marble, slate, quartzite, etc.) but these tend to be limited to a particular locality.

Optimal dimensions, characteristics and strength

For efficient handling and laying bricks must be small enough and light enough to be picked up by the bricklayer using one hand (leaving the other hand free for the trowel). Bricks are usually laid flat and as a result the effective limit on the width of a brick is set by the distance which can conveniently be spanned between the thumb and fingers of one hand, normally about four inches (about 100 mm). In most cases, the length of a brick is about twice its width, about eight inches (about 200 mm) or slightly more. This allows bricks to be laid bonded in a structure to increase its stability and strength (for an example of this, see the illustration of bricks laid in English bond, at the head of this article. The wall is built using alternating courses of stretchers, bricks laid longways and headers, bricks laid crossways. The headers tie the wall together over its width.
The correct brick for a job can be picked from a choice of color, surface texture, density, weight, absorption and pore structure, thermal characteristics, thermal and moisture movement, and fire resistance.
In England, the length and the width of the common brick has remained fairly constant over the centuries, but the depth has varied from about two inches (about 51 mm) or smaller in earlier times to about two and a half inches (about 64 mm) more recently. In the United States, modern bricks are usually about 8 × 4 × 2.25 inches (203 × 102 × 57 mm). In the United Kingdom, the usual ("work") size of a modern brick is 215 × 102.5 × 65 mm (about 8.5 × 4 × 2.5 inches), which, with a nominal 10 mm mortar joint, forms a "coordinating" or fitted size of 225 × 112.5 × 75 mm, for a ratio of 6:3:2.
Some brickmakers create innovative sizes and shapes for bricks used for plastering (and therefore not visible) where their inherent mechanical properties are more important than the visual ones. These bricks are usually slightly larger, but not as large as blocks and offer the following advantages:
  • A slightly larger brick requires less mortar and handling (fewer bricks) which reduces cost
  • Ribbed exterior aids plastering
  • More complex interior cavities allow improves insulation, while maintaining strength.
Blocks have a much greater range of sizes. Standard coordinating sizes in length and height (in mm) include 400×200, 450×150, 450×200, 450×225, 450×300, 600×150, 600×200, and 600×225; depths (work size, mm) include 60, 75, 90, 100, 115, 140, 150, 190, 200, 225, and 250. They are usable across this range as they are lighter than clay bricks. The density of solid clay bricks is around 2,000 kg/m³: this is reduced by frogging, hollow bricks, etc.; but aerated autoclaved concrete, even as a solid brick, can have densities in the range of 450–850 kg/m³.
Bricks may also be classified as solid (less than 25% perforations by volume, although the brick may be "frogged," having indentations on one of the longer faces), perforated (containing a pattern of small holes through the brick removing no more than 25% of the volume), cellular (containing a pattern of holes removing more than 20% of the volume, but closed on one face), or hollow (containing a pattern of large holes removing more than 25% of the brick's volume). Blocks may be solid, cellular or hollow
The term "frog" for the indentation on one bed of the brick is a word that often excites curiosity as to its origin. The most likely explanation is that brickmakers also call the block that is placed in the mould to form the indentation a frog. Modern brickmakers usually use plastic frogs but in the past they were made of wood. When these are wet and have clay on them they resemble the amphibious kind of frog and this is where they got their name. Over time this term also came to refer to the indentation left by them.[Matthews 2006]
The compressive strength of bricks produced in the United States ranges from about 1000 lbf/in² to 15,000 lbf/in² (7 to 105 MPa or N/mm² ), varying according to the use to which the brick are to be put. In England clay bricks can have strengths of up to 100 MPa, although a common house brick is likely to show a range of 20–40 MPa.

Use

In the early 1900s, most of the streets in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan were paved with brick. Today, there are only about 20 blocks of brick paved streets remaining (totaling less than 0.5 percent of all the streets in the city limits).
Bricks are used for building and pavement. In the USA, brick pavement was found incapable of withstanding heavy traffic, but it is coming back into use as a method of traffic calming or as a decorative surface in pedestrian precincts.
Bricks are also used in the metallurgy and glass industries for lining furnaces. They have various uses, especially refractory bricks such as silica, magnesia, chamotte and neutral (chromomagnesite) refractory bricks. This type of brick must have good thermal shock resistance, refractoriness under load, high melting point, and satisfactory porosity. There is a large refractory brick industry, especially in the United Kingdom, Japan and the U.S.A..
In the United Kingdom, bricks have been used in construction for centuries. Until recently, many houses were built almost entirely from red bricks. This use is particularly common in areas of northern England and some outskirts of London, where rows of terraced houses were rapidly and cheaply built to house local workers . These houses have survived to the present day. Although many houses in the UK are now built using a mixture of concrete blocks and other materials, many houses are skinned with a layer of bricks on the outside for aesthetic appeal.

Gallery

Notes

References

  • Brook, Timothy. (1998). The Confusions of Pleasure: Commerce and Culture in Ming China. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-22154-0
  • Campbell, James W. P., and Will Pryce. 2003. Brick : a world history. London ; New York: Thames & Hudson.
  • M.Kornmann and CTTB, Clay bricks and roof tiles, manufacturing and properties, Lasim (Paris) 2007 ISBN 2-9517765-6-X
brick in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Цэгла
brick in Bulgarian: Тухла
brick in Catalan: Maó (construcció)
brick in Chuvash: Кирпĕч
brick in Czech: Cihla
brick in Danish: Mursten
brick in German: Backstein
brick in Modern Greek (1453-): Τούβλο
brick in Estonian: Tellis
brick in Spanish: Ladrillo
brick in Esperanto: Briko
brick in Basque: Adreilu
brick in French: Brique (matériau)
brick in Scottish Gaelic: Breig
brick in Indonesian: Batu bata
brick in Italian: Mattone
brick in Hebrew: לבנה (בנייה)
brick in Lithuanian: Plyta
brick in Malay (macrolanguage): Batu bata
brick in Dutch: Baksteen
brick in Dutch Low Saxon: Keie
brick in Japanese: 煉瓦
brick in Norwegian: Murstein
brick in Occitan (post 1500): Brica (material)
brick in Polish: Cegła
brick in Portuguese: Tijolo
brick in Russian: Кирпич
brick in Sicilian: Maduni
brick in Simple English: Brick
brick in Slovak: Tehla (stavebníctvo)
brick in Serbian: Опека
brick in Serbo-Croatian: Cigla
brick in Finnish: Tiili
brick in Swedish: Murtegel
brick in Tamil: செங்கல்
brick in Telugu: ఇటుక
brick in Thai: อิฐ
brick in Vietnamese: Gạch
brick in Turkish: Tuğla
brick in Ukrainian: Цегла
brick in Samogitian: Plints
brick in Chinese: 磚

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Tarmac, Tarvia, adamant, adobe, ashlar, asphalt, biscuit, bisque, bitumen, bituminous macadam, blacktop, block, board, bone, bowl, bricks and mortar, buddy, cement, ceramic ware, ceramics, china, chum, chunk, clapboard, clinker, cobble, cobblestone, comrade, concrete, covering materials, crackerjack, crock, crockery, cube, curb, curbing, curbstone, diamond, doll, edgestone, enamelware, face, ferroconcrete, firebrick, flag, flagging, flagstone, flint, flooring, friend, glass, glaze, good Joe, good egg, good guy, granite, gravel, heart of oak, hunk, iron, jug, kerb, kerbstone, lath, lath and plaster, likely lad, macadam, marble, masonry, mortar, nails, nice guy, no slouch, oak, pal, paper, pavement, pavestone, paving, paving material, paving stone, plank, plasters, porcelain, pot, pottery, prestressed concrete, pussycat, refractory, revet, road metal, rock, roofage, roofing, shake, sheathe, shingle, siding, slab, slate, steel, stone, stout fellow, tarmacadam, thatch, tile, tiling, trump, urn, vase, veneer, wall in, wall up, walling, wallpaper, washboard, weatherboard
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