IJSRP, Volume 7, Issue 10, October 2017 Edition [ISSN 2250-3153]
Janet J. Kipsanai
The history of the developed and newly developed economies of the world shows that the establishment of material processing industries has had the greatest contribution to the growth of their national wealth. Refractories are essential for all industrial processes using elevated temperatures. The ability to withstand exposure to heat above 538 oC is the critical distinction separating refractory from other ceramics. The aim of this study therefore, is to find out the possibility of using Diatomite, mined in Kenya, as a major raw material in the production of refractory linings. Diatomite has been utilized in Kenya but majorly in the manufacture of products like industrial filters and fillers for local consumption and export. Diatomite were collected from Gilgil near Lake Elementaita, crushed, sieved and the chemical composition determined. The samples were moulded into rectangular shaped bricks of 40mm height, 40mm width and 80mm length, allowed to dry and later fired up to a temperature of 10000C. Refractory properties like Compressive strength, Hardness, Linear shrinkage on firing, Apparent porosity and Density were determined. The result of chemical analysis indicated that the clay was composed of Silica (SiO2), 74.8%; Alumina (Al2O3), 3.26%; Iron Oxide (Fe2O3), 2.19%; Calcium Oxide (CaO), 1.82%; Potassium Oxide (K2O), 0.64%; Sodium Oxide (Na2O), 2.77%; and other traces. The physical and mechanical tests show that the clay had Cold Crushing Strength of 1357kPa, Hardness of 10.03GPa%, Linear shrinkage of 11.17%, Apparent Porosity of 64.55% and Bulk Density of 0.81g/cm3. Diatomite can make better local refractory raw materials.