'New old bricks' for the construction industry

Sep 17, 2013
'New old bricks' for the construction industry
Credit: Shutterstock

Making bricks is a very resource- and energy-intensive process. Meanwhile, when existing brick buildings are demolished, most of the resulting debris, which can contain many thousands of whole bricks, is sent to landfill or crushed.

The EU-funded project REBRICK ('Market uptake of an automated technology for reusing old ') has developed and demonstrated a new system that automatically sorts demolition waste, separating out bricks for reuse.

"There are millions of brick buildings in the world," says REBRICK project coordinator Claus Nielsen of Denmark's Gamle Mursten. "Every time one of these building is demolished the bricks have the potential to become part of a new building and a new story.

"Bricks can easily last for several centuries, but those found in demolition waste are simply thrown out or, at best, crushed and used as aggregate material for low grade applications such as sub-base and ."

The REBRICK system, now patented by Gamle Mursten, automatically cleans concrete and from old bricks. The bricks can then be reused in .

Nielsen says, "By reusing old bricks and transferring their history and applying their character to new buildings, they become tangible examples of the potential that is hidden in demolition debris."

Project partners have made remarkably rapid progress, with two full-scale brick-cleaning facilities operating in Denmark in less than two years. They now intend to establish additional sites in other countries, including Poland and Germany, where demolition sectors are very active.

If they are successful, the REBRICK system could deliver an annual reduction of waste amounting to 24 000 tonnes in the second year after the project ends.

"Our approach ensures the availability of a material while at the same time creating green jobs and contributing to sustainable production and environmentally friendly development within the construction and architecture sectors," says Nielsen.

"Eventually millions of people could benefit from REBRICK, because it can make beautiful old bricks available for new buildings throughout Europe."

The system has already proven its competitiveness, with the two currently operating plants now selling every 'new old brick' produced. Nielsen says it has been almost impossible to hold any amount of stock due to the large demand.

REBRICK received about EUR 700 000 in EU funding under the Eco-Innovation programme and runs through the end of 2013.

Explore further: Researchers increase the switching contrast of an all-optical flip-flop

More information: Project factsheet www.eaci-projects.eu/eco/page/… ect_detail&prid=2039

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Architect makes bricks using cattle blood

Oct 26, 2012

(Phys.org)—A recent graduate from the University of Westminster in London, architect Jack Munro has developed a process that uses cattle blood as a binding ingredient in making bricks for use in building ...

Paper waste used to make bricks

Dec 19, 2012

Researchers at the University of Jaen (Spain) have mixed waste from the paper industry with ceramic material used in the construction industry. The result is a brick that has low thermal conductivity meaning ...

Trash to treasure: Turning steel-mill waste into bricks

May 25, 2011

Scientists are reporting development and successful testing of a promising new way of using a troublesome byproduct of the global steel industry as raw materials for bricks that can be used in construction projects. Their ...

Bricks made with wool

Oct 05, 2010

Spanish and Scottish researchers have added wool fibres to the clay material used to make bricks and combined these with an alginate, a natural polymer extracted from seaweed. The result is bricks that are ...

Follow the 'Green' Brick Road?

May 22, 2007

Researchers have found that bricks made from fly ash--fine ash particles captured as waste by coal-fired power plants--may be even safer than predicted. Instead of leaching minute amounts of mercury as some ...

Recommended for you

Intelligent materials that work in space

Oct 23, 2014

ARQUIMEA, a company that began in the Business Incubator in the Science Park of the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, will be testing technology it has developed in the International Space Station. The technology ...

Using sound to picture the world in a new way

Oct 22, 2014

Have you ever thought about using acoustics to collect data? The EAR-IT project has explored this possibility with various pioneering applications that impact on our daily lives. Monitoring traffic density ...

User comments : 0