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How does cement stick bricks together?

TECHNOLOGY: Room 5 from Churchill Park School submitted this question.

Great question Room 5! I had no clue and had to look this up!

All cements, which is another word for a type of glue, provide a means of sticking things together. When you use cement between bricks, you push the brick onto the wet cement. The wet cement is pushed into the small holes and crevices in the rough surfaces of the brick. When the cement dries and hardens, the two bricks are stuck together. Thus, it relies on the rough surface of the brick to make a good connection, and cementing together two perfectly smooth bricks really wouldn’t work too well!

But, that is not all. While the cement provides some means of holding things together, it really isn’t a great glue. It lasts a long time and doesn’t let in water, but isn’t really sticky like you might want. It turns out that a lot of what makes bricks in a house stick together is simply the weight of the rest of the house on them, including all the other bricks. Thus, a really good bricklayer is very important in how well bricks stick together in a house!

Our expert

Distinguished Professor Geoff Chase from the University of Canterbury answered this question. He is a Fellow of Royal Society Te Apārangi, which means he’s one of the top experts in his field of engineering. 

For more information on our expert, visit his profile: Geoff Chase