It’s small enough to hold in one hand and when bonded together goes together to form a work of triumph or tragedy; the brick has been used as the building product of choice for over 5000 years.
Made predominantly from pliable clay, add heat and this material is transformed into ‘rock’ (a process called vitrification) that has a compressive strength of up to 1000lbs per square inch. Add certain minerals and compounds and this compressive strength can be increased even further.
Whilst a brick is strong, fireproof (you only have to see that the Great Fire of London in 1666 stopped wherever a brick building lay in its path) and resistant to the elements, any weakness lies in the mortar-the adhesive sand and cement or sand and lime agent that ‘glues’ the structure together.
The effect Earthquakes have on brick structures.
Brick structures do not like to be shaken, the vibration from earthquakes being responsible for any failure of the building. This failure occurs at the weakest point – the mortar joints. New build construction has developed special seismic brick ties that are fixed to the inner structural core. The brick façade has the ability to move up and down the building and ‘float’ as an independent unit.
Other advances have been developed to make existing buildings in earthquake prone areas more resilient to damage. New epoxy reinforcing ‘fabric’ can be adhered over a brick face which disperses forces so that the bricks and mortar are held together thus minimising any damage.
Brick as a Modern Methods of Construction