Kinetics of Moisture Expansion in Fired Clay Ceramics: A (Time)1/4 Law

Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 125503 – Published 26 March 2003
Moira A. Wilson, William D. Hoff, Christopher Hall, Bernard McKay, and Anna Hiley


We report the results of experiments to estimate the moisture expansion of several modern and ancient clay brick ceramics from the time of manufacture. From these data we propose a new expansion law, in which the expansive strain increases as (age)1/4 approximately. Such time dependence is consistent with a mechanism in which expansion arises from a diffusion-controlled rehydration reaction on a linear or low-dimension structure. Our results provide new guidance for the engineering design of masonry and suggest a possible new method for archaeological dating of ceramics.


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  • Received 19 August 2002
  • Published 26 March 2003

© 2003 The American Physical Society

Authors & Affiliations

Moira A. Wilson1,*, William D. Hoff1, Christopher Hall2, Bernard McKay1, and Anna Hiley1

  • 1Manchester Centre for Civil & Construction Engineering, UMIST, P.O. Box 88, Manchester M60 1QD, United Kingdom
  • 2Centre for Materials Science & Engineering and School of Engineering & Electronics, University of Edinburgh, The King’s Buildings, Edinburgh EH9 3JL, United Kingdom

  • *Electronic address:

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