Assessment of ceramic raw materials in Uganda for electrical porcelain

Abstract: Clay, quartz and feldspar are widely available in Uganda. The location and properties of various clay deposits are reported in the literature, but little is reported on feldspar and quartz deposits. In this work an extended literature on ceramics and porcelains in particular, is documented. Samples from two deposits of feldspar and two deposits of quartz are characterised and found to possess requisite properties for making porcelain insulators. Sample porcelain bodies are made from materials collected from selected deposits using different mixing proportions of clay, feldspar and quartz. Their properties in relation to workability, firing temperature, dielectric and bending strengths are studied. It is found that a mixture consisting of 30% Mutaka kaolin, 15% Mukono ball clay, 30% Mutaka feldspar and 25% Lido beach flint yields a body with highest mechanical strength (72MPa) and dielectric strength (19kV/mm) when fired at 1250°C. The strength (both mechanical and dielectric) is found to decrease with increasing firing temperature. At high firing temperatures, the undissolved quartz in the body decreased, the glass content increases and pores are formed. Mullite content on the other hand does not change at temperatures above 1200°C but there are significant differences in the morphologies of the mullite crystals in the samples. Optimum mechanical and electrical properties are found at maximum virtification and a microstructure showing small closely packed mullite needles.