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Uses of Clay in Engineering Applications

Uses of clay are not limited to a single industry it is used to produce a variety of stuff. Though it is a trouble to the engineers in construction when it is found under the foundation, it is used for a variety of services in the construction industry.

What is Clay

A group of hydrous aluminum phyllosilicate minerals with a typical diameter of fewer than 2 μm are known as clay. Clay is made up of a wide range of phyllosilicate minerals that are rich in silicon and aluminum oxides, as well as hydroxides that occasionally contain structural water. Although some clays are created by hydrothermal activity, most clays are created by the chemical weathering of silicate-bearing rocks by carbonic acid. The small size, flake or layered shape, affinity for water, and propensity for high plasticity set clays apart from other small soil particles like silt.

One of the oldest ceramic materials discovered is clay. Clay was recognized to have valuable characteristics by prehistoric humans, who utilized it to create pottery. The first documented ceramic artifacts date to roughly 14,000 BC, and clay tablets were the first known form of writing. Clay is employed in numerous contemporary industrial processes, including those that produce paper, cement, and chemical filters. The majority of people in the world live or work in structures that use clay as a primary component of their load-bearing structure, frequently baked into brick.

Uses of Clay

The uses of clay are not limited to the construction industry and its related work, there are other advantages of clay as well. Let’s discuss each type of use of clay in detail.

uses of clay - brick

Brick Production

Brick is one of the most widely used partition materials in the world. They are mostly used in small buildings and up to medium-rise buildings. In high-rise buildings, due to the increase in weight, another type of material or a smaller quantity of brick is used for the external facades.

Brick is used as the load-bearing element in buildings. Concrete columns, beams, and footing can be avoided in the load-bearing structures and the load transfer can be done through the brick wall. These uses of clay are important and the contribution to the construction industry will be very vital.


The uses of clay for pottery have been a source of income since ancient times. It’s dark, clay and water are combined, and a thick mass is produced underneath a condition where it’s not completely dry and there is moisture in the air. The dense bulk is then shaped into pots and other pottery-related forms. The formed frames are then placed in an oven and fired to remove all of the moisture from the structure and harden it. Clay pottery making is a labor-intensive procedure that takes a lot of time since the clay needs to be worked gently to prevent excessive water absorption.


There are countless craft applications for clay soil. It can be molded into almost any shape when combined with water to create a malleable material. Ceramicists work with clay to create sculptures as well as pots, pipes, and other practical household items. Ceramic tiles that are used on floors, walls, and counters are also made from clay and they are used in most buildings and similar nature structures.


Medicinal Clay 

Clay soil minerals were used in the field of folk medicine. It has been discovered that the mineral composition of clay soil helps to treat stomach discomfort and wound infections. Research has even demonstrated that clay soil contains antibacterial minerals that are efficient in eliminating pathogenic bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Minerals in it are effective at eradicating bacteria in wounds. Additionally, studies have demonstrated that clay minerals can be used to make low-cost medications to treat human infections.

Dam Construction

Clay is one of the very important materials in rock-fill dams. It is the material that maintains the water leak through the dam body. The properties of clay enable the dam to minimize water seepage. These are the most important uses of clay that is most applicable in the engineering field.

In addition, the construction of the earth dams is done with clay. Special properties of clay are considered in using the clay for construction of this nature. Particle size distribution, permeability, etc. need to be tested and specified by the design. During the construction of the dam, it is required to make sure the type of clay used meets the design specification.


Clays are widely used as landscaping material. it is used to create different types of landscapes to match with the other landscape feature of the land. Beds, borders, and walkways are just a few of the various landscape features that may be made with clay soil. It is frequently utilized as a foundation for pavers and other hardscape elements. Clay dirt is incredibly simple to work with and maybe shaped in any way you choose.

Growing Plants

Growing plants is one of the other uses for clay soil. This is because clay soil tends to hold in adequate air, which is necessary for plant growth and is contacting nature. Clay soil is not suitable for many plant species. Tamarack, apples, and elm are just a few of the plants that thrive in clay soil.

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