“Coarse ceramics” in the Faculty of Materials Engineering

Prof. Wolfgang Krcmar, Dr. rer. nat.

Coarse ceramics is a very old part of today’s silicate ceramic sector. Coarse ceramic products include roof tiles and bricks, ceiling tiles, structural and decorative ceramics, refractory and acid-resistant ceramics, stoneware, and abrasive materials. The difference between fine and coarse ceramics consists in the size of the structural particles and the uniformity of the body structure. If the structural particles in the ceramic body are larger than 0.1 mm, this is referred to as coarse ceramics.
Bricks are the oldest material in the world. The oldest air-dried clay bricks have been dated to around 13,000 BC and the oldest fired bricks to around 7000 BC. Archaeologists have calculated that the Tower of Babel would have required around 85 million bricks. To produce quantities of this magnitude, the brickmakers at that time must have had access to a much older technical development.

Bricks with slotted outer webs (Source: Ceramix AG, Nuremberg)
Ceramix AG, bricks with slotted outer webs

Technological progress has blurred the boundaries between fine and coarse ceramics. Today’s processing technology using the semi-wet process with roller gaps of 0.5 mm, extruder technology, and highly efficient dryer and kiln systems have resulted in an incredible increase in the quality of bricks with homogeneous material properties. Simultaneous process automation keeps the current use of personnel to a minimum and enables the competitive production of high-quality ceramic building materials. Due to its comparatively excellent material properties, the brick can be considered a real all-rounder compared to other building materials. Its economic importance as a building material for walls and roofs is enormous.


Students studying the Silicate and Coarse Ceramics module as part of our bachelor’s degree in Materials Engineering will be taught the basics of coarse ceramics. This includes the clay raw materials and the processes used for their extraction and preparation, mass conditioning and plasticity, moulding, drying, firing, and quality control, as well as technical brick properties. As modern firing technology generates temperatures between 900°C and 1300°C for brick firing, students will also study heat transfer mechanisms and thermal process engineering.


In the Silicate and Coarse Ceramics specialization of our bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes, students will build on their basic knowledge with application-related specialist knowledge from the field of coarse ceramics and the associated production processes. This includes state-of-the-art production processes and product properties and major findings from the current research environment in the heavy clay industry. The lecture material is supplemented by images and film material, numerous samples from practical experience, practical experiments, a final thesis, and industrial study trips.

Student projects

Prof. Krcmar_”Goat image” ceramic signpost_Nuremberg 2005
Prof. Wolfgang Krcmar, “Goat image” ceramic signpost (Nuremberg 2005)

Reproduction of a “goat image” ceramic signpost

Reproduction of a destroyed ceramic signpost for the
“Senter dei Bech” approach route, which leads from Biacesa to the
“Susatti” via ferrata on Cima Capi in one hour. The via ferrata climb
takes a further hour to reach the summit of Cima Capi.

>> Presentation

Prof. Krcmar_Memorial_Column_Nuremberg 2007
Prof. Wolfgang Krcmar, Memorial column (Nuremberg 2007)
Prof. Krcmar_Column_Base_Nuremberg 2007
Prof. Wolfgang Krcmar, Column base (Nuremberg 2007)

Memorial column on the Vestnertor Bastion of Nuremberg Imperial Castle

Construction and erection of a monument in May 2007 in honour of
Georg Christoph Eimmart –
founder of Europe’s first public observatory on the Vestnertor Bastion of Nuremberg Imperial Castle

>> Presentation

Brick industry field trip

Brick Industry – 2016 Study Tour
Brick Industry – 2016 Study Tour

Programme of events

Lectures

  • Grothe GmbH & Co. KG

The small but subtle difference in the engobe and glaze processing of
structural ceramics

  • Hans Lingl Anlagenbau und Verfahrenstechnik GmbH & Co. KG

Energy-optimized brick production – present and future

  • Refratechnik Ceramics GmbH

Development of lightweight, energy-saving, refractory products focussing on
“modern methods for cassette development”

  • Josef Opavsky und Sohn GmbH

Possibilities of roof tile surface design from
development to production

Brick Industry – 2015 Study Tour
Brick Industry – 2015 Study Tour

with students of the Koblenz University of Applied Sciences, Höhr-Grenzhausen department, and the Nuremberg Tech, Faculty of Materials Engineering

Programme of events

Lectures

  • Lingl GmbH & Co.KG

Energy-optimized brick production

  • Händle GmbH

From pit to moulding

  • Grothe GmbH & Co.KG

The small but subtle difference in the engobe and glaze processing of structural ceramics

  • Refratechnik Ceramics GmbH

Development of lightweight, energy-saving, refractory products focussing on “modern methods for cassette development”