Brick Quality Testing

To ensure a high quality product that is suited to its intended application and environmental conditions BSMART performs a wide range of quality tests on its products. BSMART operates its own in-house materials testing laboratory, to develop new trial products and to undertake ongoing batch testing of its proven product range.

Where independent certification of product quality is sought BSMART products are also submitted for testing to an appropriate, independent NATA accredited laboratory.

The following tests are some of the important tests undertaken by BSMART to give reliable information about the likely performance of a product in the field.

Brick tests

Unconfined Compressive Strength - AS/NZS 4456.4

This test will give an indication of a brick's ability to withstand crushing forces applied to the brick by the weight placed on it. This would include the weight of the wall in which a brick is laid and any other loads expected to be placed on the wall, including the roof of a building.

Designers of a building should ensure that their selected brick has the compressive strength for the building's requirements. All Bsmart products are exceptionally load bearing due to their high density.

Initial Rate of Absorption - AS/NZS 4456.17

This test is used to indicate the amount of water a dry brick will soak up upon first coming into contact with water. It is an important test to undertake in order to be able to advise a brick layer what kind of mortar should be used in laying the brick.

A brick that has a high Initial Rate of Absorption may absorb water at too fast a rate from the mortar causing the mortar to dry out too fast resulting in a weak bond with the brick. A weak bond between brick and mortar also occurs if the Initial rate of Absorption is too low as the brick may not absorb water fast enough and not enough wet mortar mix will be drawn into the pores on the surface of the brick.

Bsmart is able to advise on the appropriate mortar mix for its bricks.

Resistance to Salt Attack - AS/NZS 4456.10

The presence of salt in an environment can have significant damaging effects on both bricks and pavers. In some situations pavers can be attacked by salts from ground water, swimming pools, bore water sprinklers.

Bricks too can be the subject of salt attack in coastal regions due to wind spray and where proper damp proof courses have not been included in the construction of a dwelling where there may be salty water present in soils

Laboratory test are undertaken to simulate the conditions which can cause damage from salt attack. Bricks and pavers are classified from Exposure Grade, to Protected, depending on the amount of mass that is lost when subject to this test in the laboratory. Protected grade products should not be installed in salt-prone environments.

Determining dimensional deviations - AS/NZS 4456.3

It is important for ease of laying bricks and pavers, and for the final look of an installed product, that deviations in the dimensions of a batch of products are kept to a minimum. This test involves a simple process of measuring the variations of a sample of specimens that are representative of a batch to determine those variations. Some deviation will always be inevitable of course, and it will be question of keeping that deviation to a minimum.

Potential to effloresce - AS/NZS 4456.6

Efflorescence refers to the build up of salts on the surface of a brick or paver which affects the visual appearance of an installed product, rather than its structural qualities. It appears as a cloudy, and usually off-white, discolouration on the surface of a brick or paver. The salts can come from salty water which the product has come into contact with, such as groundwater, or from within the paver itself due to the presence of salts in the clay soils used to make the product. Often efflorescence on the surface of a product is only temporary, however while it is there, it affects the aesthetic quality of the product. This test indicates whether efflorescence will occur as a result of the salts already present in the product..

Water absorption - AS/NZS 4456.14

This test is undertaken to determine the porosity of pavers and gives an indication of the amount of moisture that a brick or paver is likely to absorb over a period of time. The amount of water absorbed by a brick or paver, generally speaking, can be used as a simple method of obtaining an indication of the extent to which a product will resist salt attack and other problems caused by the entry of water into the product such as efflorescence.
Depending on the manner in which a product has been installed, a high rate of water absorption can indicate a likelihood of problems emerging with the product down the track.

Co-efficients of expansion and contraction - AS/NZS 4456.11 & 4456.12

These tests are undertaken to determine the amount by which a brick or paver is likely to expand and contract during wetting and drying phases. Bsmart bricks and pavers tend not to expand or contract in the way that ordinary clay-fired products do over time. It is none-the-less important that the expanding and contracting properties of a product are assured so that brick layers can use appropriate measures, such as expansion joints, to allow for this naturally occurring phenomenon.