What happens to ceramic tile when it comes to removal?
A new study published in the journal Science suggests that the removal process could be significantly less expensive than traditional mastic removal, and that ceramic tile removal could become a cheaper alternative to hardwood tiles in the future.
Researchers at the University of Oxford and the University at Albany in New York used a 3D printer to create ceramic tiles in a single step, removing ceramic tiles from an outdoor surface in order to test the feasibility of ceramic mastic tile removal.
In the experiment, they found that the ceramic tiles did not contain any harmful chemical residue.
“The ceramic tiles were removed from an indoor terrace and we used a high-speed 3D printing system to remove them,” said lead researcher Professor Peter Jones, of the University’s Department of Environmental Engineering.
“It was a fairly straightforward process.”
The team then tested the ceramic tile-removal process using a similar 3D model.
They found that it would require just as much space to remove a ceramic tile from a surface as a ceramic-plastic tile, which is roughly the size of a quarter.
“This could be a useful option for outdoor landscaping in general, but particularly if we’re looking at residential areas,” said Professor Jones.
“If we can take ceramic tiles out of an indoor setting, we could make them more resistant to water infiltration and make them even more resilient against the elements,” he added.
“Ceramic tiles could be used to replace hardwood ceramics in buildings, where the hardwood has more mechanical strength, and this is the kind of thing that people often want to do, so it makes sense to take that step.”
The ceramic tile mastics can be used for outdoor installations in an industrial setting, as well as for outdoor gardening, although Professor Jones noted that this method would need to be tested with a wide range of environments before it could be considered for the home.
The researchers suggest that ceramic tiles could also be used in buildings as a natural insulator, reducing the impact of moisture loss in buildings.
“We are now moving away from the idea that ceramic is bad for the environment,” Professor Jones said.
“Now, the problem is that ceramic does contain moisture and so you need to consider whether it is the right type of ceramic to use in the building, or the right amount of ceramic for the building.”
This study was funded by the Australian Research Council.