By now, you’ve probably heard the term “brick” used to describe a building material that is made from wood or metal, but how it’s made has been largely unexplored.
Now, a team of researchers from Oxford University has made an attempt to fill that void by showing how to make a brick frame.
And they have found a new way to make one, as well as an improved way to cut the brick into bricks, the team reports today in the journal Nature Communications.
These bricks are made by heating up the molten metal in a furnace to a temperature of about 1,500 degrees Celsius.
Then, the molten magnesium is mixed with water and heated again to a much higher temperature of 2,600 degrees Celsius, producing a product that has a strength similar to iron, which is what we usually think of as a strong building material.
It’s a very strong material, and its strength is why we use it for roofs and windows and doors, the researchers say.
But the strength of the bricks are far from the only thing that distinguishes them from the typical bricks used in modern houses.
“It’s not just the weight of the brick, but also the way in which it has been cut to give it strength,” says co-author Dr. Mark Stirling, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford’s Department of Physics and Astronomy.
The team’s method uses a furnace called a metallurgical furnace, which uses molten iron to melt the magnesium to a higher temperature.
The metallurgy furnace is also used in industrial processes to melt and shape metals into shapes that are more attractive.
For instance, when a metal is heated to about 700 degrees Celsius to melt, it loses a lot of its original strength.
“At this higher temperature, the metal has a lower melting point, and therefore it has a much weaker bond between the metal and the glass,” says Stirling.
This means that when you heat the metal with water, you’re also increasing the temperature at which it melts.
This is the process called thermo-heat treatment.
“When you heat metal, you heat it at the same temperature at a lower temperature, so it heats up and then you’re adding to that thermal expansion,” Stirling explains.
In a typical metallurgist’s furnace, the magnesium is cooled by adding water, and the temperature of the molten iron is reduced.
The process heats up the metal until it reaches a temperature where the temperature gradient is equal to the melting point of the magnesium.
This makes it very easy to shape the magnesium into a shape that can be cut into bricks or other building materials, says Stouring.
“You don’t have to worry about the molten gold being turned into a brick or an iron ore,” Stouring says.
Instead, the metallurer is able to shape magnesium into various shapes that can then be welded together.
This type of metallurist’s technique was already widely used in the UK, where it is also common for steel products to be made from steel, and is commonly used in other industries such as automotive, aerospace, and food processing.
“I think it’s very exciting,” says Matthew Jagger, a professor of metrology at the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the California Institute of Technology.
“The metal is being cut into these different bricks that are being welded,” he says.
“We’re getting to the point where these are being made with a much lower energy cost.”
In the future, the method could be adapted to other materials, such as plastics, and can be used in many different types of buildings.
“This is a really good demonstration of the potential of metallic metallography,” says Jagger.
The researchers are now planning to continue to investigate how to improve their metallographic techniques to make bricks with stronger and more durable properties.
The next step, according to Stirling and Stirling’s colleague, Dr. Simon Stirling of the University College London, is to investigate whether or not metallolytic metallosis is possible using the same metallogenic technique.