Utilization of kaolin processing waste for the production of porous ceramic bodies

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The kaolin processing industry generates large amounts of waste in producing countries such as Brazil. The aim of this study was to characterize kaolin processing waste and evaluate its suitability as an alternative ceramic raw material for the production of porous technical ceramic bodies. The waste material was physically and chemically characterized and its thermal behaviour is described. Several formulations were prepared and sintered at different temperatures. The sintered samples were characterized to determine their porosity, water absorption, firing shrinkage and mechanical strength. Fired samples were microstructurally analysed by X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. The results indicated that the waste consisted of quartz, kaolinite, and mica, and that ceramic formulations containing up to 66% of waste can be used for the production of ceramics with porosities higher than 40% and strength of about 70 MPa.

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