Bricks - Influence of Initial Rate of Water Absorption on Mortar Bonding

Background

The bond between brick and mortar is largely influenced by the tug-of- war between the capacity of the brick to absorb water and the ability of the mortar to retain the water. This water is needed for the proper hydration of cement where the mortar contacts the brick.

If the brick wins this tug-of- war (and sucks the water too quickly from the mortar), the mortar strung out for the bed joint stiffens so rapidly that the bricks in the next course cannot be properly bedded.

If the mortar retains too much water the bricks tend to float on the mortar bed, which makes it difficult to lay plumb walls at a reasonable rate. In either case there will be poor bond.

The power of a brick to absorb water is measured by the initial rate of absorption.

Low suction bricks need a leaner mortar to give good bond. Usually this is done by increasing the proportion of washed sand in the mix.

High suction bricks require a mortar with very high water retention, making it necessary to shorten the length of the bed joint or wet the bricks to reduce their suction. It should be noted however that wetting the bricks can lead to efflorescence in the brickwork.

 

Source: Austral Brick Company

 

For more information on this source please visit Austral Brick Company.

 

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