Glass-ceramics as building materials
Glass-ceramics are materials composed as any ceramic material by several crystalline phases embedded in an amorphous or vitreous matrix, but their manufacture process implies the controlled devitrification or nucleation and growth of phases from an original glass. The original shape of the original glass molded by conventional methods is carried out by using pressing and sintering followed by crystallization steps. By both processing routes are obtained transparent and/or opaque materials, with or without colours, which after adequate control and design of composition and microstructure have numerous domestic and architectonic applications. They can be used as pavements or wall coatings and in various decorative elements. In fact, their use is very extensive in east-European, American and Asian (Japan) countries in constructions for covering large surfaces. The greater advantage of the glass-ceramic process is that due to the own process of vitrification allows the incorporation in their structure of a wide range of compositions from mining and industrial residues, such as red muds, ashes, fangos, scraps... which they can in this way not only be inertizated, but furthermore it be converted without risk for the environment into products useful in construction applications, offering to the architect and to the decorator a new range of "eco-materials" with multiple complementary possibilities of the already existing architectural materials in the market.
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