Illite is one of the main clay phases used for the preparation of mixtures for traditional ceramics. The raw materials used for production of white porcelain stoneware tiles mainly consist of feldspars, quartz, and clay minerals (kaolinite, smectite and illite). In this study, eight clayey raw materials with a different content of illite up to 70 wt.%, have been considered. The crystalline phases present in different amounts are illite, smectite, kaolinite, illite-smectite mixed-layers, K-feldspar, plagioclases, quartz, and accessory phases (anatase, goethite). The clays have been chemically and physically characterized as raw and fired materials with X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, and SEM. Moreover they were added in the percentage of 35 wt.% to a mixture composed of albite, feldspar sand and quartz sand, to reproduce that commonly used for the production of porcelain stoneware tiles. We focused on the quantitative mineralogical aspects of the unfired and fired bodies and their relationship with the technological properties due to the presence of illite. Increasing illite content yields higher percentage of glass phase and lower water absorption because of the lowering of the melting point. Because of the pyroplastic deformation, linear shrinkage decreases with illite content. The presence of illite inhibits the formation of mullite and cristobalite, since silica and alumina tend to form alkaline glass. Although in clays from Hungary, transition elements are present in very low percentage, the colour of the fired bodies is darker. These clays contain goethite, which may be rapidly oxidized with temperature, and show a very low percentage of newly formed mullite which could eventually host Fe in its structure.
The use of illitic clay in the production of stoneware tile ceramics / S., Ferrari; Gualtieri, Alessandro. - In: APPLIED CLAY SCIENCE. - ISSN 0169-1317. - STAMPA. - 32:1-2(2006), pp. 73-81. [10.1016/j.clay.2005.10.001]