Development of Alumino-Silicate Refractories from locally available materials for kiln furniture

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Clay until it is fired and made durable, is a material of little or no practical value. Experience shows that when wares are not fired, the potter’s morale is reduced to the lowest ebb. Also art students get frustrated, after graduating, when they cannot get employment or set up their own small scale industries. Where they succeed in setting up one, getting the regular supply of necessary materials and equipment to work with when the old ones are exhausted or get broken down becomes a problem. It is also. a known fact that the cost of these materials, where available, is often prohibitive. The major problem lies with the unavailability of conventional materials and equipment locally. The other problem is lack of qualified personnel for the teaching and learning of ceramics at the Junior Secondary School and Senior Secondary School levels of education. It is this concern that has prompted the investigation into the Development of Alumino-Silicate refractories from locally available raw materials for kiln furniture. The objective of the project is to identify, assemble, experiment and evaluate the physical properties of Saltpond, Bokaso, Kibi, Okwan, Awaso, Cape Coast, Amfoega, Mfensi and Anyinase clays with the aim of composing refractory bodies for the manufacture of batts, props and insulating bricks for kiln furniture. Selected clays were dried, crushed, sieved and calcined at 1160° celsius and tested for characteristics needed in a refractory product. The tested clays were used to manufacture batts, props and insulating bricks. They were fired to 1450o celsius. Series of tests including Shrinkage, Porosity Density, Thermal Spalling and Compressive Strength were conducted and coordinated by personnel from Building and Road Research Institute and Ceramics Section of the College of Art, U.S.T., Kumasi, The research ends up with general conclusions giving a summary of the analysis of the results of the experiments. It also offers recommendations and suggestions. It is followed by the bibliography.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Arts in Art Education, 1991