Mineralogical and Physicochemical Characterization of Enugu Iva-Pottery Silica-Rich Deposit for Ceramics Applications

Document Type : Research Article


1 Ceramic Research and Production Department, Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, NIGERIA

2 Department of Pure and Industrial Ceramic Research and Production Department, Projects Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, NIGERIA

3 Engineering Research Development and Production Department, Project Development Institute (PRODA), Enugu, NIGERIA


The exploration of indigenous raw materials that are pure and simple to process for ceramics is a scalable option for locally-made ceramics products. This study involves the characterization of unexplored silica-rich sand deposits at Iva-pottery, Enugu North local government area in Enugu state Nigeria for their ceramic industrial potential. The physicochemical properties of Iva-pottery silica-rich sand were determined. The crystalline phase components and elemental compositions of the oxide were investigated with an X-ray diffractometer and an X-ray fluorescence spectrophotometer respectively. The silica was used in ceramics composition as a filler and glaze formulation as glass former.  The results obtained showed mainly a siliceous crystalline phase with a minor amorphous phase and contains 74.55% SiO2, 13.02% Al2O3, and 0.55% Fe. The grain size in the raw form is in the range of 0.18 mm to 0.075 mm (100 mesh to + 200 mesh range) without involving ceramic raw materials processing equipment such as a ball mill as well as a high percentage of alumina (13.02) contents as compared to conventional silica with alumina 0.02% to 0.5% range. The high alumina that forms mullite at sintering temperature brings about a low thermal coefficient and hence, suitable chemical stability and resistance to thermal shock.  These rare qualities make the Iva-pottery silica-rich sand an emergent material suitable for glaze formulation and filler in ceramic bodies. Thus, it is recommended that the Iva-pottery silica-rich sand deposits in their raw form be exploited for the formulation of varied glaze temperature ranges and also for the refractory industry. Iva-pottery silica-rich deposits in their raw form, do not meet the requirements of high tech- ceramics applications.


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