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Re:sourcing clay

From sludge to tile

The development of architectural elements by using iron sludge. Iron is a natural residual material from water production plants in The Netherlands.

Kirstie van Noort

A research project how iron sludge can be deployed to make the production process of Royal Tichelaar more sustainable. Within the project we are developing architectural elements using iron sludge that has a low environmental footprint and can be locally sourced.

Iron sludge as a sustainable material

Iron sludge is a natural residue coming from the production of drinking water. After groundwater is pumped to the surface and filtered, you are left with fine iron particles and water. The iron particles have a superb deep brown color and can be used as a pigment for coloring ceramics.

Kirstie van Noort and Lotte de Raadt have mixed iron sludge pigments with clay, to produce a spectacularly colored series of facade tiles.
Besides its distinct deep red color, 
iron sludge brings additional benefits
to the production process of Tichelaar. One example being the reduced
firing temperature of clay mixed
 with iron sludge. The addition of iron sludge effectively lowers the melting temperature of clay, meaning Tichelaar can now bake at lower temperatures without compromising on product quality. The reduced baking temperature in combination with the locally-sourced residual pigment can reduce Tichelaar’s overall environmental footprint.

About Lotte de Raadt & Kirstie van Noort

The project is a collaboration between designers Kirstie van Noort and Lotte de Raadt. Within the project we are researching the application of iron sludge as a natural residual product in ceramics. The origin of the iron sludge are different water production plants in The Netherlands.

Kirstie van Noort

Britt Roelse

Tapping iron sludge at the production location

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