Compared to traditional concrete blocks, lightweight concrete blocks have higher compressive strength, lower water absorption and lower volume. They are also lighter, less expensive and environmentally friendly.
A typical lightweight block weighs 22-28 pounds, compared to the standard weight block which weighs about 19.5 pounds. They are manufactured from expanded clay aggregates or volcanic cinders. They can be cured in a temperature range of 170-185degF, with a curing time of 24 hours.
The raw materials are weighed electronically before being mixed in the mixer. They are then blended with sand, lime and other ingredients to make a slurry. The mixture is poured into molds for forming. The blocks are then compacted and pushed out of the molds onto a flat steel pallet. The blocks are then placed in storage.
The resulting block is composed of a blend of cement and sand in a ratio of about 30% to 70%. The sand is coated with a layer of sawdust to enhance the bonding of the cement to the sand. This coating prevents the block from burning.
The process of forming the block requires constant monitoring. The amount of water content is measured using ultrasonic sensors. If water is trapped, an additional amount of water is added to compensate for it.
A block is cured for 12-18 hours in hot, moist air. It is then glazed with a thermosetting resinous binder. This can provide a decorative effect. It may also be coated with a baked-on glaze. Color pigments are usually added to give the block a uniform color.
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