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International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 299

Volume 4 Issue 10, October 2016, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

Changes in the Physical State of Ceramics Materials Brought About By

the Removal of Free Water
Dr. (Mrs) Etukudoh A. B., Akpomie K. G

Ceramics Research and Production Department (CRPD), Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Federal Ministry of
Science and Technology, Emene, Enugu, Nigeria.

Abstract is thus a prime ceramic operations and its successful and

This study evaluates the change that occurs in the economical completion is important aspect of scientific
physical state of most ceramic body as a result of the and technological study [2]. The term dewatering is
removal of free water. Essential techniques used in commonly used for describing the removal of large
ceramics such as de-watering, sedimentation methods; quantities of water from slip, etc, the term during usually
filtration techniques, drying, conduction, convection and restricted to the removal of water from pastes and solids,
radiation were considered. both terms are used rather loosely [1]. The term
dehydration is being increasingly used for the removal
1. Introduction of water particularly when the precise means by which
the water is removed is not stated, this term includes the
The clay mineral are mostly hydrated alumino silicate removal of water by means other than drying by heat
and contain OH groups which, when clay is heated to a which is the most widely used method of dehydration.
sufficiently high temperature, escape in the form of The removal of water may be effected in various ways,
water vapor known as combined water, constitutional of which the most important are:Sedimentation or
water or crystal water. They also contain water in other Settlement, Centrifugal separation by hydrocyclones or
forms, some beings absorbed and in a state of slight centrifuges, Filtration including pressure filtration an
combinations, whilst other water lies between the layers absorption into plaster moulds, Electro Osmosis is
forming the mineral (inter-layer water or interstitial which the charged particles are caused to migrate in an
water) in most clay there is water occupying some or all electric field, evaporation usually by means of heat or
of the open pores. Water is usually added to all ceramic other forms of radiation and desiccation in which water
bodies to assist in the molding of shapes. The amount is removed in absorbing it into a more receptive medium
used depends upon the material and the method of [2].
shaping and varies from around 5 percent in dry pressing
to 30 percent and above (by weight) in slip casting. 2. De Watering
Such water is termed free water and its removal must be
complete before the ware is fired, otherwise serious The first four techniques are more applicable to
faults may arise [1]. dewatering in that none of that of them dry the solid
material thoroughly. Evaporation is used mainly to dry
In many clay industries and others where clay is bodies which are already in a plastic condition. Except
involved as a contaminant, the raw material is in very hot, dry climates where solar heart can be
thoroughly dispersed in water to form a fine slurry or harnessed, evaporation is an expensive process and not
suspension. In this way coarse minerals can be removed to be recommended where large quantities of water, are
by sedimentation from the fine clay which remains in involved. Desiccation is an expensive operation and used
suspension. There remains the problem of how to only to clays of a small laboratory scale [2]. Dewatering
remove the clay from the watery medium which may be is the removal of large quantities of water from dilute
60 percent or more by weight of the total. Water removal slips and suspension is common to the processing of
International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 300
Volume 4 Issue 10, October 2016, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

high purity clays, such as china clays, and to the disposal can be regarded as being at constant velocity. This full
of clay tailings from several minerals purification expression which is called Stokes Law is [3]:
operation. These latter include waste disposal from coal
wash plats and limes treatment from various physical V = 2(P1 P2)Gr2
and chemical process. In all cases an essential 7
requirement is that the clarified water should be Where V is the velocity of fall in cm perse 7 is the
sufficiently clean either to return to the circuit without viscosity of the liquid (Water = 10oC, 20oC 30oC),
reducing efficiency or to be discarded into a public water P1 and P2 are respectively the density of the particles
supply. A requirement of clear water with a maximum and the liquid medium, G is the gravity constant
solids content in the range 5-20 parts per million is a (981/cm./sec2), and r is the radius of particles in cm.
common specification.
Stoke equation is applicable only when is assumed that:
3. Sedimentation Methods
a) The particles of solid matter are much larger
If solid particles are suspended in a fluid medium of than the particles of liquid so that the effects
lower density, they will settle at a rate covered mainly of Brownian movement are not serious.
by the size of the particles and the difference in density b) The liquid is homogenous and of infinite
between the solid and the medium. This is strictly true extent in comparison with the particles.
only when the Particles in suspension are small (less c) The particles are smooth and rigid.
than 50 microns) but in dewatering exercises where clay d) No slipping occurs between the particles and
is involved, this condition invariably is the liquid
satisfied.Sedimentation obeys Stokes Law which has e) The Velocity is not too great or else free
been developed and is written as [3]: settling may be restricted.
f) The particles are small, but not excessively
V = 2(P1 P2)gr 2
9n g) The particles are free to fall. If the settling
vessel is narrow and the suspension is
The rate of fall of particles in a liquid medium was concentrated, the wall and the presence of
investigated by stokes. He was able to derive an neighbouring particles will affect the rate of
equation which related to terminal velocity of fall to the fallings.
square of the diameter of perfect spheres when subjected
only to the influence of gravity and free from When the particles size is small, the rate of
interference by neighboring particles. In the analysis of sedimentation is slow. Particles of 1 Macron size for
particles below Sieve Size (Circa 50 Microns)it is usual example, will sink less than 0.4cm. In 1hour it is not
to employ a technique which depends upon uncommon in some clays to find particles as small as 0.1
sedimentation law. When a particle is allowed to fall micron which would require 100 hours to sediment 0-4,
freely in a medium, it will accelerate under until it even if other factors were not operative to keep them in
attains a specific velocity. It will then continue to fall permanent suspension [1]. For a deflocculated clay,
with the same terminal velocity unless there is a change therefore simple sedimentation technique are not. The
in sedimentation conditions.With large sized particles, answer to complete dewatering although large particle
the terminal velocity is not reached for a considerable impurities or components are effectively removed by
time and the flow characteristics are complicated. these means. In practice, clays are deflocculated some
Particles of 50 microns or less, however, attains their suitable inorganic or organic chemical prior to entering
terminal velocity in less than one second and for all the sedimentation vessel. The clay agglomerates into
particles purposes the whole of their sedimentation cycle large flocks which settle much more rapidly.
International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 301
Volume 4 Issue 10, October 2016, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

Flocculated particles are, by their very nature, of low particles are drawn closer together and the mass shrinks
density because of entrapped water. The sedimented or contracts. When the water is gradually withdrawn
volume of such a system is therefore large and although form a paste in this manner, each form in which it occurs
clear water can be removed, the percentage of water in is the cause of certain physical changes in the material
the sediment itself is much larger than in the settled and the drying therefore appears to occurs in several
product form a deflocculated suspension. Much research distinct stages, though these overlap to some extent [1,
has been carried out on both the type of flocculant to 3].
give optimum results and on the design of thickners.
Dell and Sinna have shown that deep vessels produce 6. The Mechanism of Drying
more consolidated sediments [2].
During the early stages of drying, evaporation from the
4. Filtration Techniques surface of clay body occurs at almost exactly the same
rate as form a water surface (e.g. a pond) and continues
The removal of water by filtration involves exposing the at that rate until there is an insufficient supply of water
suspension to a porous materials which selectively from the interior of the mass. The physical state of fire-
permits the fluid medium to penetrate into and through grained material when a sufficiently large amount of
itself, whilst retaining the solid particles. It follows that water is present may be imagined to be as each particle
the pore size of the material must be smaller than the is separated from its immediate neighbors by a water
particles to be removed but for greatest efficiency the film of a relatively appreciable thickness. In this state,
total pore area exposed to the suspension must be as the clay or ceramic body can be easily molded because
large as possible.As filtration proceeds, a layer of solids the free water surrounding all particles acts as a cushion
builds up on the interface and provides a barrier and permits the mass to flow, either unaided or under
restricting further water removal. The rate of percolation slight pressure. The water film is a continuum
of water through the filtered layer is thus another throughout the mass and hence the water surface
important factor in this technique of water removal [4]. exposed to the atmosphere is broken and evaporation can
proceed at a rate similar to that from a volume of water
5. Drying with the same surface area. As water is lost by surface
evaporation, the continuum in the mass is preserved by a
The process of dewatering described in the previous drawing together of the particles and an over-all
section involve the removal of water by purely physical shrinkage occurs. The clay mass will lose water as
means and convert a very fluid slip into a body of much though there were a free surrounding water surface until
stiffer consistency. There is a limit to which all such the solid particles touch each other and the water within
methods can extract water, and the final stages of water the mass can no longer maintain a continuum film. In
removal, or drying, can be achieved only by evaporation this stage of loss, the rate of drying, if conditions are
or an exceptional cases by desiccating agents. The kept uniform, is constant throughout the rate of
commonest form of evaporation involves the application shrinkage of the mass also very closely parallels the rate
of heat to change the state of liquid water to gaseous of loss of water and is constant in the region. For these
steam. In this process, latent heat is absorbed and the reasons, this first period of drying is known as the
energy which has to be supplied is considerable. It is constant rate period of drying [2]. The rate of drying in
not always appreciated that the heat energy required to this period depends on that at which the water leaves the
raise a clay body containing 20 percent water on a wet surface of the articles and is absorbed and carried away
basis to 1000C and then to remove all the water, is not by the air is stationary, drying will continue until the air
very different from the heat involved in pulsing that is saturated and will then cease. Only if the air is
same dried body.As long as sufficient water is present, removed, either mechanically or naturally, will drying
the clay remains in a swollen state, but as it dries the occur and the rate of drying will depend chiefly on that
International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 302
Volume 4 Issue 10, October 2016, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

movement. The hotter the air, the more water will it escape to the atmosphere from the opposite face.The
hold and the more rapidly will it dry the goods, so long theoretical condition from such drying techniques would
as it is not fully saturated, but air which is too hot and produce an undesirable moisture gradient and such
too dry may cause cracking. The water removed from effects occur if large shapes are to be dried. Conduction
the articles in this state is sometimes termed the methods are successful only if the operation precedes
shrinkage water and the amount of water remaining in very slowly or where very thin ware [2, 4].
the body at the end of this stage is termed the critical
moisture content. At the end of the first stage, the 7.2 Convection Methods
article will then be in a leather hard or black hard state
and will contain about 7 10 percent of water. In the The circulation of warm air around the articles to be
second stage of drying which commences when the solid dried, serves a dual purpose in heating the ware and in
particles in the mass can no longer behave as a removing the evaporated water by convection
continuously evaporating film, because the water will be circulation. Only if the rate of circulation of air is rapid
drawn into the pores between the solid particles of can drying proceed quickly because two effects tend to
material. Clay are composed of inherently fine-grained inhibit evaporation:When water is converted into steam,
particles which would be expected to have a fine latent heat is absorbed which reduce the temperature of
capillary pore-system, hence the amount of retained ware in the immediate vicinity of the surface. As water
water be greater than in sand where the particles are evaporates from the article, its partial pressure in the air
larger and more rounded in shape. The shrinkage in clay layers in immediate contact rises to saturation point.
bodies at water contents below the critical point has been Unless it is removed progressively, the drying rate will
attributed to a re-arrangement of colloidal particles and be substantially lowered and may even stop. The
to the loss of water contained within the structure of advantage of convection heating in drying practice is
certain minerals. The amount of shrinkage below the that water is evaporated from all exposed surfaces and
critical point, is however, relatively small compared with as the outer of moisture are moved, migration from the
the amount in the constant period of drying [3]. It is center through capillaries can occur, although this may
useful to represent drying rate in terms of the volume of be a slow process in thick ware because heat is slow to
specimen in relationship to moisture content present. penetrate the article. If the heat applied to surface layers
is too great, vaporization of water can drive moisture
7. Methods of Drying back into interior parts of the shape and prevent it
escaping [2, 4].
The drying of clay bodies involves applying heat to them
from some external source and thus raising the 7.3 Radiation Methods
temperature in order to evaporate the water contained in
them.For this reason, methods of drying are related to The third principal of heat transfer is being applied with
the form of heating and the fundamental mechanism of increasing importance in ceramic drying practice. Heat is
its transfer to the body. This may involve conduction a form of energy which has a wave-form similar to
convection and radiation and all three principles of heat visible light, but of longer wave-length. The radiation
transfer are used in drying practice. involved belong to the infra- red region of the spectrum
in the wave-length range 8 x 105 to 4 x10-2 cm. Heat
7.1 Conduction Methods transfer by radiation from a hot source to a colder body
is much more efficient than it is by conduction or
If an article to be dried is placed in direct contact with a convection means.
hot surface, heat is transferred by conduction and
penetrates into the body, thus causing a migration of
water to the cooler parts of the shape. It will ultimately
International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Technology (IJAERT) 303
Volume 4 Issue 10, October 2016, ISSN No.: 2348 8190

8. Conclusions [4] R.S. Lamar and M. E. Warner (1954). Reaction and

Fired Property Studies of Cordirite Compositions.
Undoubtedly, many defects in ceramic articles can be
attributed to incorrect methods of drying. The faults, in
some cases, are not apparent until the ware has fired,
when they have been concentrated by changes brought
about by the heat treatment. In general, the defects which
arise as the result of bad drying methods are of four
types: (a)Those due to differential shrinkage and the
consequent induced stresses in the ware, (b)Those due to
the migration of the finer particles of the body by
moisture transference to the drying surface, (c) Those
which are due to the accentuation of differential stresses
arising initially in the forming process and (d) Those due
to too rapid volatilization of water within the body of the
article which is unable to escape through the five pore
structure at a sufficiently rapid rate.The most obvious
effect of differential shrinkage on drying is the cracking
of ware. This may take many forms but is most unusual
for the faults to appear parallel to a face, which is drying
more rapidly than other parts of the body. Whilst the
materials has a wear content above the critical point, all
parts of the body are plastic and should one area shrink
more rapidly than others, the strain can be
accommodated. Once the leather-hard condition has
been reached in part of the ware, deformation is less easy
and areas with a high moisture content but to shrink
away from those which are drier crack develop along,
inherent line of weakness which in presses ware are at
right angles to the direction at which pressure is applied


[1] Norbert, Samuel Garbisch (1941). Improvements in

or relating to Process of an apparatus for forming
ceramic bodies.

[2] S.Jones, (1953) The Efficiencies of Ceramic Dryers.

Read at a meeting of the Institute of Fuel.

[3] Richard Lamar (1944) Particle Shape and

Differential Shrinkage of Steatite Talc Bodies