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Refractory Brick Masonry

by admin on July 27th, 2010

A refractory brick, or fire brick, is a unit made specifically to survive high temperatures and unkind elements. It is commonly utilized in structures that must withstand high levels of heat, such as wood-fired kilns, furnaces and ovens. They are also frequently used in homes as a liner for fireplaces. Though refractory bricks cannot support as much weight or pressure as standard clay bricks, they are able to insulate much better and are somewhat lighter in weight. Refractory bricks usually utilize a multiple-wythe format to further strengthen the structure.

Refractory bricks consist of nonmetallic materials and are composed primarily of fireclays, hydrated aluminum silicates, and minerals with high aluminum oxide levels.

The mortar that complements refractory bricks is different from the substance used with traditional clay bricks. Fired brick requires a high purity mortar, primarily composed of alumina aggregate and calcium aluminate cement.

Refractory bricks are specially manufactured to be highly resistant to high temperatures and fires. Their special mortar only enhances this ability. Special considerations should be made when they are installed in cold or warm weather.

The visual appeal and aesthetics of refractory brick usually take a backseat to its functional design. It is made specifically to withstand heat in some very high pressure areas, and thus  it can be scorched and stained within minutes of its installation. Little attention is usually paid to its design for this very reason.

With the exception of a different mortar, refractory brick follows the same steps as traditional clay bricks do, see “Installation” within Clay Unit Masonry.