The Constructor

Common Wall Materials: Composition, Properties, and Applications

Common Wall Materials

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There are different materials with different composition and properties which are used to construct a wall. The functions or duties of the wall, which are either load-bearing or non-loading bearing, determine its construction materials types such as various types of bricks, blocks, partition boards etc.

The load-bearing wall is a part of the structural system of the building whereas the non-load bearing wall is used only for dividing spaces of the building. Table 1 presents various common wall materials and their composition, properties, and applications.

Fig. 1: Types of Common Wall Materials

Table 1 Types of Wall Materials and their Compositions, Properties, and Applications

Wall MaterialsCompositionPropertiesApplications
Fired Bricks (including clay bricks, fly ash bricks, shale bricks, and coal gangue bricks)Made by sintering the clay materialsCompressive strength: 10-30MPa; apparent density: 1500-1800kg/m3; thermal conductivity: 0.78W/(m*K); and frost resistance: 15 timesWalls, bases, columns, brick arches, etc..
Fired Porous BricksMade by sintering the clay materialsCompressive strength: 7.5-30MPa; apparent density: 1100-1300kg/m3; and frost resistance: 15 timesInsulating load-bearing walls
Fired Hollow Bricks and BlocksMade by sintering the clay materialsCompressive strength: 2.0-5.0 MPa; apparent density: 800-1100kg/m3; and frost resistance: 15 timesNon-load bearing walls, and insulating walls
Lime-sand BricksMade by autoclaving ground fine silicate sand, lime and waterCompressive strength: 10-25MPa; apparent density: 1800-1900kg/m3; thermal conductivity: 0.6W/(m-K); the appearance is structured and white grey; they also can be made into colourful bricks; the bricks cannot resist flowing water for a long time and also acid corrosionThe application is almost the same with fired common bricks, but they cannot be used in the parts experiencing flowing water and heat above 2000C for a long time
Autoclaved Fly Ash BricksFly ash, lime, aggregates (slag, and mineral slag) and gypsumCompressive strength: 7.5-20MPa; apparent density: 1500kg/m3; the dry shrinkage of qualified products: </=0.85mm/mThe same with lime-sand bricks
Aerated Concrete BlocksThe porous concrete made by gas-forming and autoclaving ground silicate materials. lime, aluminum powder and waterThe compressive strength of 500(kg/m3) grade: 2.2-3.0MPa; thermal conductivity: 0.1 0-0.16W/(m.K); frost  resistance: 15 times; the compressive strength of 700 grade: 4.2-5.0MPaWalls of buildings and Insulation
Aerated Concrete Boards (exterior wallboards, or partitions)Ditto, and with steel barsThe compressive strength of 500(kg/m3) grade: 2.2-3.0MPa; thermal conductivity: 0.1 0-0.16W/(m.K); frost  resistance: 15 times; the compressive strength of 700 grade: 4.2-5.0MPaOuter walls and partition walls
Foam Concrete BlocksThe porous concrete made by gas-forming and autoclaving cement, foam agent and waterThe common ones are 400 grade and 500 grades; the compressive strength of 500 grade is 2-3.0 MPa; and the thermal conductivity is 0.12 W/(m*K)The same with aerated concrete
Common small sized concrete hollow blocksMade by stirring and forming cement, sand, stone and water; There are single-row pores, double row pores and triple-row poresCompressive strength: 3.5 to 15 MPa; Hole-rate: 35% - 50%; Apparent density: 1300 – 1700 kg/m3; Thermal conductivity: 0.26 W/(m*K)The inner walls and load-bearing walls of low-rise and middle-rise buildings
Small-sized lightweight aggregate concrete hollow blocksMade by stirring and forming cement, sand (light-weight sand or common sand) lightweight aggregates and water; there are single-row pores and multi-row pores.Compressive strength: 2.5 – 10 MPa; Apparent density: 500 – 1400 kg/m3The insulating walls (<3.5 MPa) or non-load-bearing walls; load-bearing walls (>= 3.5 MPa)
Lightweight concrete wall boardsCement, sand, lightweight, water and steel barsApparent density: 1000 – 1500 kg/m3; Compressive strength: 10-20 MPa; thermal conductivity: 0.35 – 0.5 W/(m*K)  The wallboards with strength less than 15 MPa can be used in non-load-bearing walls; and those with strength more than 15 MPa can be used in load bearing walls
Lightweight sandwich boardsThe polystyrene boards with steel mesh plastered by cement mortar on two sides, or composite colorful thin steel plates, aluminum alloy boards and colorful galvanized steel boardsWeight: 10 – 110 kg/m3; Heat resistance: 0.6 – 1.1 (m2*K)/W Soundproof index:  40dBSelf-supporting outer walls, partitions, insulating walls (such as ceilings, and roof boards).
Concrete sandwich boardsComposed by reinforced concrete of 20-30 thick as the surface layers, rock wool felt, glass fiber felt, foam concrete and other insulating materials as the middle layer.Load bearing board: 500 – 542 kg/m3; Thermal conductivity: 1.01 W/(m2*K) (thickness of 250mm); Non-load-bearing: 260 kg/m3; Thermal conductivity: 0.593 W/(m2*K) (thickness of 180mm)Load bearing outer walls or non-load bearing outer walls
Paper Gypsum boards, fiber gypsum boards, hollow gypsum boards and decorative boardsBuilding gypsum, paper boards, glass fiber and waterApparent density: 600 -1000 kg/m3; bending load:400-850N; Thermal conductivity: 0.2-0.25 W/(m*K); Soundproof index: 30 – 50 dB; Lightweight, insulating, soundproof, easy to be processed and used, and poor water resistanceInner partition walls, or the boards inside composite walls, the relative humidity of the environment > 75% and the temperature > 600C, and noise reduction
Glass fiber reinforced cement boards (GRC Boards)Low-alkali cement, anti-alkali glass fiber, lightweight aggregate and waterApparent density: 1880 kg/m3; Bending strength: > 25kJ/m2; Thermal conductivity: <=0.2 W/(m*K); Soundproof indexes: > 30 – 45 dB; Fireproof limit: 1.3 – 3h; easy to be usedInner partition walls, the protective boards on the exterior walls or combined with other core materials
Natural stoneUndressed pieces of stoneSusceptible to thermal shock, porous, and may stainRandom rubble walls
Solid concrete blocksManufactured from cement, sand, and aggregate.high structural capacity, resist fire, easy to be used etc.Load bearing walls
Dressed stoneStone that is cut into cuboids with smooth facesCrushing strength should be greater than 100 N/mm^3, resist fireAshlar masonry walls
Glass BlockManufactured from silica sand, soda ash and limestone. Raw materials are mixed with additives and heated in large tanks up to 1260C.heat transmission ratio: 2.97 [W/m^2 x K], Soundproof: -42dB, Light transmittance: colorless glass blocks 80% and colored glass blocks 60%.  Insulation, cladding, glazing, and even as a structural component.
Types of wall materials, composition, properties, and applications
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