Comparison of Methods for Determining the Water Absorption of Glazed Porcelain Stoneware Ceramic Tiles

<div><p>This work evaluated the water absorption of glazed porcelain stoneware ceramic tiles using three different methods. Two methods were based on a procedure of boiling in water, specified by standards ISO 10545 and ASTM C373, and the third was the vacuum method proposed by the standard ISO 10545. The three products produced under the three different firing conditions were tested according to a 22 factorial design, with intervening factors of the boiling time and immersion time for the methods involving boiling, and of pressure and immersion time for the vacuum method. The maximum saturation of the plates was evaluated by helium gas pycnometry testing. The results showed that no sample saturation occurs in the boiling water absorption test performed according to the conditions established by standards ISO 10545 and ASTM C373. The values of open porosity, using the method of helium gas picnometry, showed absolute values of saturation higher than those presented by the water absorption measured according to the current standards. Thus, the results showed that the current methods for determining the water absorption of glazed porcelain stoneware ceramic tiles do not guarantee the complete saturation of the plates and, therefore, they are not able to correctly measure this property.</p></div>