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Polytechnic University of the Philippines

Maragondon Branch

Maragondon, Cavite

Lounela Ana Moira L. Sunico BSME-V


CERAMIC TILES

Tiles
A manufactured piece of hard-wearing
material generally used for covering roofs, floors,
walls, or other objects such as tabletops.
It is the simplest form of ceramic art and are
used in churches and mosques, restaurants and
shops, hospitals and homes. Tiles cover walls and
floors, roofs and pavements, furniture and stoves.
They are often combined with other forms of ceramics
such as terracotta, faience and mosaic.

History of Tiles
• 4700 BCE: Ceramics developed in Ancient Egypt, around 4,700 BCE, however it was
noticed that Roman buildings also used roof tiles.

Ancient Hieroglyphics Decorative Ancient Egyptian Tile

• Eleventh Century: It was in the eleventh century that tiling picked up, originating from the
Middle East and spreading across Europe. Meanwhile, there have been examples of tiles
made from clay and mud that are seven thousand years’ old.
• Victorian Era: Tiles began to be produced in masses, meaning that the price of tiles were
gradually reducing and were also easier to install since there were so many of them
available. However, tiles (especially ones with special designs and patterns on) were not
so cheap that all families could yet afford them. Due to this, it was in areas of the home,
often used by guests that were decorated with the more fancy, patterned tiles, while the
cheaper and plainer tiles were used as kitchen floor tiles and bedroom floor tiles.

Church Mosaic Tile Screen Printed Tile Hexagonal Tile

• Early 1900’s: Originally, during the early 1900’s, ceramic tiles were used on public
buildings, such as churches and in homes owned by wealthy families who could afford this
extra stylish addition to their home.
• 1950’s: It was in the 1950’s that ceramic tiles grew and more homes were having them
installed. This was especially the case when it came to tiles for bathrooms, specifically in
North America, since glazed tiles were a more convenient, easier to clean and stylish
flooring alternative.
• 20th Century: In the 20th century, more homes were buying ceramic tiles installation
services, but not only because of their desirable appearance giving homes that neat and
tidy look, but due to hygiene. Tiles started to have unlimited uses such as tile showers and
fireplace tiles. Ceramic tile flooring is easy to clean and are therefore an ideal addition to
bathrooms and kitchens. Meanwhile, ceramic flooring also provides numerous benefits in
places such as restaurants and science labs, where items such as chemicals are used,
making it more hygienic and safer to operate.

CERAMIC VS. PORCELAIN


Advantages of Ceramic Tiles
• Economical to produce because of the raw materials used are easily available mined
ceramic minerals.
• Ceramic tile is less dense than porcelain tile, it is also a far easier material for do-it-
yourselfer homeowners to cut manually, by wet tile saw, or with a snap tile cutter.
• Ceramic tile will nearly always be cheaper than porcelain tile. Porcelain is more expensive
to manufacture than ceramic tile, resulting in higher retail prices.

Disadvantages of Ceramic Tiles


• Porcelain clays are denser and thus less porous than ceramic clays. This makes porcelain
tile harder and more impervious to moisture than ceramic tile.
• Can’t be used in high-moisture applications, such as showers, bathtubs, and pools.
Ceramic Raw Materials
1. Plastic Ceramics – Involve any clay material that when mixed with water reveals the
property called plasticity.
Plasticity is the property of clay that allows it to change shape without rupturing
when force is applied to it.
2. Non-Plastic Ceramics - Include minerals, rocks and artificial chemicals that acts as a
filler, reducing high plasticity or shrinkage of the body.
Used for sintering, fluxing and melting or to increase the refractoriness.

Types of Plastic Raw Material


1. Clay - A term for naturally occurring mineral aggregates consisting mainly of the hydrous
silicate of alumina.
Advantages of Raw Clay

• Produces a light coloring during firing.


• Gives plasticity and binding characteristics to the mass.
• Enhances mechanical characteristic in the fired tiles.
• Produces good rheological flow properties.
• Gives a good density level.
2. Kaolin Clay - This has relatively low plasticity when compared to raw clay. Also called
as ‘China Clay’ and Hydrated Alumina Silicate.
Many porcelains contain only a kaolin mix as their clay complement. But Kaolin
has relatively low plasticity when compared to other raw clay types. Thus, in non-casting
plastic forming bodies it is often not possible to achieve enough plasticity employing kaolin
alone. Additions of ball clays, bentonites and other plasticizers are thus common. Where
translucency and whiteness are paramount, highly plastic kaolin and white burning ball
clays and bentonites can be used.
Advantages of Kaolin Clay

• Outstanding whiteness
• Most common glaze mix
3. Bentonite Clay - Due to very fine particle size, this shows extra-ordinary swelling capacity
and bonding powers. It’s the most plastic and impermeable common clay material used in
ceramics. 1 part Bentonite can plasticize a body as much as 10 parts Kaolin.
Advantages of Bentonite Clay

• Because of their active electrolytic behavior and fine particle size, bentonites
exhibit extremely high plasticity.
• Bentonitic bodies are stronger in the dry form.
Types of Non-Plastic Raw Materials
1. Feldspar - Made from crushed crystalline rock containing a mixture of aluminum silicates
of sodium and potassium. This is important and a common fluxing material for ceramic
bodies.

Feldspars are mineral compounds of silica, alumina and fluxes and are among the
relatively few insoluble sources of K2O, Na2O and Li2O. Since it contain a complex mix
of oxides, ceramic chemistry calculations are needed to 'juggle' a recipe to achieve the
desired balance of fluxing oxides with alumina and silica and to control the high thermal
expansion that they impart.
Advantages of Feldspar

• Feldspars are the primary ingredient in most high temperature raw glazes.
• Gives glossy finish on ceramic bodies.
• Makes the product high in mechanical resistance and vitrification.
2. Silica - Reduces shrinkage and increases the whiteness of a fired body and often used
as filler and acts as a glass-former in ceramics. Decreases its unfired strength and
plasticity but assist to facilitate escape of gases during drying and firing.
Silica can be found in the earth’s crust – it is abundant there. Silica reduces
shrinkage and increases the whiteness of a fired body. It exists in a variety of forms like
quartz, tridymite, and cristobalite. There are three types of silica: Rock, Granular and
Powder type. Silica is often used as filler and acts as a glass-former in ceramics.
3. Talc – Also called as Steatite (Magnesium Silicate Hydrate) and French Chalk. Used to
produce low expansion ceramics. At middle temperature, raw talc is refractory, its
presence tends to create opaque and matte surfaces, yet if supplied in a frit it can create
wonderfully transparent glossy glazes.
Talc is used in small amounts in a vitrified body. It enhances the fluxing action and
is formed with the contact of water – to improve the whiteness level of the product and
lead to a higher modulus of rupture of a fired body.
Advantages of Talc

• Can promote matteness and opacity when added to low-fire glazes.


*The classic or "triaxial" ceramic body consists of three major components: clay, quartz which is
a non-plastic material and feldspar, that acts as a flux providing the glassy phase.

Equipment Used
1. Primary Refinery - Used to reduce large lumps of material.
• Jaw Crusher – Operate using a horizontal squeezing motion between steel plates.
• Gyratory Crusher – Operate using rotating motion between steel cones.
Jaw Crusher Gyratory Crusher
2. Secondary Refiner - Reduces smaller lumps to particles.
• Hammer Mill – This uses rapidly moving steel hammers to crush the material.

Hammer Mill
3. Third Particle Size Reduction - Tumbling types of mills are used in combination with
grinding media.
• Ball Mill - consists of large rotating cylinders partially filled with spherical grinding
media.

Ball Mill Alumina Pebbles

4. Storage Vats - After grinding, the slip is discharged into storage tanks called Vats. The
slip is then agitated continuously with high efficiency stirring blades to ensure
homogeneity.
Storage Vats
5. Spray Dryer - the excess water is usually removed via spray drying. This converts slip
into granules.

Spray Dryer Silos


6. Silos - The spray dried granules are stored in silos.
7. Press Machine - The material is compressed in a steel cavity by steel plungers and is
then ejected by the bottom plunger.

Hydraulic Press Machine


8. Kiln Drier - Ceramic tile usually must be dried after forming.
Kiln Drier
9. Glazer
• Bell Glazer - a stream of glaze falls onto the tile as it passes on a conveyor
underneath.

Bell Glazer Spray Glazer

• Spray Glazer – glaze is simply sprayed on the ceramic tile.

10. Printer
• Screen Printer - The screen printing is done with the help of screen

Screen Printer Digital Printer

• Digital Printer - This type of printing is done by digital printers.


11. Kiln – This is the backbone of the industry.

Electric Kiln Fire Kiln


12. Diamond Tool
• Diamond Tool Drillbit – Used to smoothen the surface.
• Diamond Tool Slicer – Used to trim the edges.

Production
1. Quarrying - The minerals are often refined or beneficiated near the mine before shipment
to the ceramic plant.

Quarrying
2. Refining - The raw material from the feeder is conveyed to the crusher, to bring the
particle to the required mesh size, suitable for ball mill grinding.
3. Milling - The raw materials are then ground in ball mills to make homogeneous slurry and
to reduce the particle size of the raw materials. Alumina pebbles are used a grinding
media. The water input in the ball mill is controlled by an automatic water flow meter to
achieve the correct density of slip.
4. Storing - After grinding, the slip is discharged into Vats. The slip is then agitated
continuously with high efficiency stirring blades to ensure homogeneity.
5. Spray Drying - In this process, the slip from storage vats is sieved and is fed into the
spray drier at a constant pressure by means of a high-pressure piston pump. In the spray
drier the slip is atomized against hot air to convert slip into granules.
The function of the atomizer is to spray the slurry into fine droplets. The basic principle
behind the functioning of the atomizer is Bernoulli’s principle. The sprayed slurry is made
to contact with hot air, during which liquid associated with the slurry gets evaporated and
the remaining solid substance is obtained in a powder form. During this process, more
than 90% of the liquid in the slurry is evaporated.
6. Forming
The granules are then pressed under high pressure by means of an automatic
hydraulic press to facilitate formation of tiles of different sizes. The free flowing powder—
containing organic binder or a low percentage of moisture—flows from a hopper into the
forming die. The material is compressed in a steel cavity by steel plungers and is then
ejected by the bottom plunger. The pressing pressure differs for different types of tiles. In
the case of ceramic tiles, a pressure below 300MPa is used, while for porcelain tiles of the
same size it is necessary to use pressures of 350-400MPa.
7. Drying
After pressing, the tiles are moved into a horizontal dryer, where the moisture
content in the tile evaporates and the tile picks up its mechanical properties (strength).
Drying, which can take several days, removes the water at a slow enough rate to prevent
shrinkage cracks. Continuous or tunnel driers are used that are heated using gas or oil,
infrared lamps, or microwave energy.
8. Glazing and Designing
• Glaze Preparation
a) The raw materials are taken according to batch composition and then it is taken to
ball mill. The grinding of material with water occurs in the Ball mill. The grinding
media is usually alumina.
b) After milling, certain properties of glaze must be checked their viscosity, density,
residue and pickup weight
c) If the determined value matches with the standard, then the glaze is passed
through sieves and it is loaded on glazes storage tanks.
d) To get coloured glaze, stains are to be added. The stain can be directly added on
ball milling. In other method desired amount of glaze is taken in drum, then stains
are added to it and then it is mixed.
Application of Glaze
- Bell Application - In this method, there is bell-like structure which makes the glaze to fall
over the surface. It is a predominantly used method which is used to produce defect-free
glaze.
- Spray Application – In this method, there is a nozzle or sprinkler that sprays the liquid
glaze unto the tile surface.
• Tile Designing - The decoration over the glaze makes the tile pleasing to the eye. The
decoration is done by various techniques. Some of the techniques are:
a) Screen Printing
▪ The screen printing is done with the help of screen.
▪ The required design is made on the screen.
▪ The required colourant is added on the screen.
▪ The rotating roller is allowed to pass over the screen.
▪ By the action of rollers, the colourant is squeezed or pressed over the
screen and it emerges through the design.
▪ By this, the tiles get designed.
b) Digital Printing
▪ The ceramic ink is fed into the printers.
▪ Any type of design could be drawn by digital printers.
▪ The digital printers print the given design over the tiles.
9. Firing
Firing is an extremely important stage in the production process since vitrification
takes place in this stage. The peak temperature is approximately 1250C. After glazing, the
tile must be heated intensely to strengthen it and give it the desired porosity. This step
removes the volatiles from the material and most or all of the shrinkage. The body and
glaze are then fired together in a process called glost firing. Both firing processes take
place in a tunnel or continuous kiln, which consists of a chamber through which the ware
is slowly moved on a conveyor on refractory batts—shelves built of materials that are
resistant to high temperatures—or in containers called saggers. Firing in a tunnel kiln can
take two to three days.
▪ Pre-Heating Zone - In this zone, heating is done by the heated air coming
from the firing zone. The is no flame heating in this area.
▪ Firing Zone - In this zone, a group of burners is employed to achieve the
highs firing temperature. Verification of tiles takes place in this which
provides the tiles desired strength, good finishing and also makes the tiles
to be pore-free.
▪ Cooling Zone
• Pre-Cooling Zone - In this zone, the air is drawn from the
atmosphere, through air fans and is thrown inside the chamber.
This cool air interacts with the tile and absorbs the heat. The
temperature of the tile gets reduced.
• Indirect Cooling Zone - In this zone, the air is withdrawn from the
chamber using air pumps. The temperature of the tile gets further
decreased. It is termed In-direct cooling because there is no air
cooling is involved as in the previous step.
• Final Cooling - It is like that of the direct-cooling zone. A larger
amount of air is sucked from the atmosphere and it is distributed by
cooling fans. The hot air obtained from this area is used as a heat
source for dryer. At this end, the temperature of the tile will be in the
range of 40C-80C.
10. Calibrating and Polishing
Fired tiles are fed to the first calibrating unit by a conveyor. Calibration is done to
make the surface even by removing a certain amount of material to provide a flat surface.
Diamond tools are employed for calibration. Polishing employs tangential heads to give
the tile a mirror like finish without any scratches, shadows or signs of machining. This
stage also ensures the squaring and chamfering of sides.
11. Packing
With the help of latest technology, the tiles are automatically sorted into different
grades depending on the categorization. The tiles are checked for dimensions, flatness
automatically and sorted into appropriate grades. The categorized tiles are the packed in
corrugated boxes by an automatic packaging unit, and ready for dispatch.

Quality Check
In quality, check is done to find whether the tile has defects or it is free from tiles.
Common Defects

• Pinhole - The volatile substance in firing gets escaped from the body which causes small
hole in the glaze.

Pinhole Chipped Tile

• Chipping - When some portion of the body get chipped off or broken, then it is known as
chipping. It occurs due to the hitting of tile against objects such as guides on passing
through the conveyor.
• Crazing - If the thermal expansion is very high than that of the body, the glaze will be in
tension. Cracks will develop over the glaze surface.

Crazing Cracked Tile

• Cracks - The cracks occur at the side of the pressed compact. It is due to the high moisture
content in the press powder or pressure variation during pressing.
• Crawling - It occurs due to the adhesion problems. The glaze will not get properly adhered
to the body. It May also occur due to the high surface tension of the glaze.
• Metal Marking – Production equipment marks on ceramic tiles and can only be seen after
cleaning and polishing.

Crawling Metal Marking

How are Ceramic Tiles Maintained?


• Cleaning methods
When cleaning, try to avoid the use of highly abrasive materials like scouring
pads or metal pads. These materials will scratch the tile surface causing loss of
gloss to the ceramic tiles.
Clean all spills immediately. The longer the spills stand, the greater the
possibility of staining to the tile surface.
• Cleaning products
Use appropriate cleaning products, such as standard commercial tile care products for
cleaning. Avoid using acid-based detergents that are very harsh and corrosive, such as those
used for removing stubborn scale from the toilet bowls. Cleaning agents containing
hydrofluoric or fluoric compounds should be avoided at all because they can damage the
surface of ceramic tiles.

• Impact
Do not drag heavy objects such as furniture or crates across the tiled floor. Every
effort should be made to prevent heavy objects from dropping onto the tiles.

Safety Hazards
Clay

• Always wear your Personal Protective Equipment.


• Clay storage and mixing should take place in a separate room. Bags of clay should be
stacked on palettes or grids off the floor for easier clean-up.
• All clay mixers should be equipped with local exhaust ventilation to remove fine silica dust
particles from the air.
• Clay mixers should be equipped with proper machine guards so that they cannot be
opened to add clay or water while the mixer blades are turning.
• Avoid contact of clay with broken skin. Use a skin moisturizer.
Glazes

• Use lead-free glazes.


• Lead glazes should only be used on non-foodware items.
• Don't use colorants that are known human carcinogens and avoid probable human
carcinogens.
• Basic personal hygiene rules should be followed including restricting eating, drinking, or
smoking in the studio, and wearing personal protective equipment
• Good housekeeping procedures and cleanup of spills reduce the risk of inhalation or
ingestion of toxic dusts. Wet mop spilled powders.
Kilns

• Always check that the kiln has shut off.


• Lumber, paper, solvents, or other combustible and flammable materials should not be
stored in kiln areas.
• If gas leaks are suspected (e.g. gas odor): shut off gas at the source; shut off power to the
kiln room at the circuit breaker; and call the gas company. Test for leaks with nonfat, soapy
water or use approved leak-detection solutions.