The aesthetic advantages of ceramic tile are immense, so we can all consider ourselves fortunate that the material is common in buildings and homes. This is by no means a new trend, however; ceramic tile dates back to Ancient Egypt, and it was used in Mesopotamia, throughout the Ottoman Empire, and during various colonial periods worldwide. However, just like all beautiful things, ceramic has a fatal flaw: it breaks.
A new ASTM International standard released in 2018, ASTM C1870-18: Standard Test Method for Determination of Impact Diameter from Falling Ball on Ceramic Tile, outlines a method for measuring the impact diameter and properties of ceramic tile.
Impact is one of the primary means by which ceramic tile can crack or break. This decorative material can grace ceilings, walls, and other surfaces. Ceramic tile located on the floor, due to the everlasting earthly force of gravity, can be especially susceptible to break. For example, in kitchens, cooking-specific heavy objects can drop by mistake, inflicting sharp blows to the tile.
The test method in ASTM C1870-18 includes procedures for measuring impact properties of ceramic tile that is bonded to a standardized substrate after contact with a 2-inch steel ball. Under this method, the 2-inch steel ball is dropped from a specified height onto a bonded tile assembly. The diameter of the impact area is measured and reported, and the impact diameter may be used to interpret impact resistance. Maximum impact diameter may also be a specified requirement for tile.
Please note, however, that the test method outlined in the ASTM C1870-18 standard is intended solely for evaluating standardized laboratory test specimens, and it does not purport to nor should be used to simulate actual installed performance of ceramic tile.
This does not diminish its importance, however, as there are numerous testing procedures for ceramic tile addressed in additional ASTM International standards that can be supplemented by ASTM C1870-18. ASTM C648-20: Standard Test Method for Breaking Strength of Ceramic Tile helps to determine the breaking strength of ceramic tile under heavy loads. This is crucial considering the continuous forces inflicted onto some ceramic tile. For example, a refrigerator’s weight presses a heavy compressive load onto any floor tile. Ceramic tile compliant with ASTM C648-20 can be assured to not break under anticipated loads like these.
ASTM C1870-18: Standard Test Method for Determination of Impact Diameter from Falling Ball on Ceramic Tile is available on the ANSI Webstore.