Most of us just think of bricks as the building blocks of our homes and the structures around us. While that is the most common use for building bricks, there’s a lot more that goes into bricks than we realise. So here are three fun facts you might not have been aware of:
1. The colour is in the minerals
You’re probably used to seeing bricks in different shades of red. Hardly anybody gives any thought as to why this is, but the colour can tell you all about which minerals are present in your bricks.
That common red colour comes from a high iron content in the brick. When the iron is heated it becomes oxidised, converting into iron oxide (more commonly known as rust). Does that red colour make more sense now?
Sometimes you find bricks that come out looking more white or yellow, and this is due to a higher concentration of lime. Building material suppliers and manufacturers are well aware of this, as well as other variations and their strengths, so you can simply ask about which ones would work best to suit your needs.
2. Barium Carbonate prevents scumming
Speaking of white showing up in building bricks, you will sometimes notice a sort of white, powdery scum. This scumming, or efflorescence, occurs as a result of the water soluble salts in the bricks seeping out and drying on the surface.
Another effective use of minerals in bricks besides affecting colour is to use Barium Carbonate to prevent scumming. This mineral helps building material suppliers by reacting with the responsible salts and keeping them inside the bricks. So it’s all still there, but you just don’t see it.
3. Bricks have their own frogs
It sounds odd to say, but your building’s bricks have frogs. Not the amphibious sort though.
What we call frogs are actually the indentations you find on the surface of some bricks. There isn’t any real consensus on why these indents are called frogs or even what their true purpose (if any) is. Still, it’s interesting to know that everybody calls them by the same odd name.