Fly Ash Bricks

The brick-making process utilizes the following percentages of materials in each mixed batch:

62% Fly Ash
8% Lime
5% Gypsum
25% Quarry Dust
Water added to create a workable paste

Fly ash is a by-product of charcoal-fired electric energy generators and is readily available in both the Hastings, Nebraska and Kansas City, Missouri communities. Lime and gypsum are bonding ingredients. Quarry dust is the equivalent to "marble saw-dust" and acts as a filler with sparkling aesthetics.

In the prototype blocks, I substituted prairie dirt for fly ash, Portland cement for the lime and gypsum, and Mason's sand for the dust. I mixed all ingredients in a large stainless steel bowl and troweled the paste into a brick 1x6 form. So far I've made about 5 blocks of different mixing proportions.

Upon study on the most effective and efficient method,  I believe it's probably best to save the brick idea as simple pavers. The blocks with the 6" thickness tended to crumble and distort around the edges as form was removed. In this instance, the purpose of brick making is for the construction of a wall to accommodate garden needs against a brutal Spring wind. The most suitable method for completing a "monolithic" wall around my garden is to pour concrete into forms, instead of doubling the energy to first create the bricks, and then secondly laying/stacking. This way will save time.

The project is rooted in sustainable practices by utilizing the local waste of fly ash as the primary ingredient in the the concrete mix. Once the process is developed and perfected, a portable brick making machine may be used to expedite the process for site-specific design/build projects. This aspect increases the marketability as a sustainable practice and construction.

Once the simple brick process is mastered, I can focus on more advanced concrete forms. The brick process is merely a starting point.