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Inventor Profile:
Fredrick von Engelhardt

The Ceramic Brick

Albertan Fredrick von Engelhardt was given a challenge in the late 1950s, and asked to develop bricks made of industrial waste products. After experimenting with more than 200 materials, he found two suitable for making high quality bricks: flyash, a byproduct of industrial thermal power plants; and tailingdam, apatent record for this invention byproduct from mining operations.

An excellent example of innovative recycling, von Engelhardt's brick composition was environmentally friendly and economically profitable. During this period, bricks were made primarily with clay, and finding clay for bricks was expensive. Clay extraction involved finding and purchasing clay beds, which were becoming scarce. Also, clay production required heavy equipment for extraction and trucking operations for transportation. By using flyash and tailingdam, von Engelhardt’s production method did not require clay extraction, saving a great deal of money and reducing the ecological impact. At the time, disposal sites for flyash and tailingdam were dwindling and these waste materials were, therefore, compared to the costs for clay very inexpensive.

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