All fired clay, including bricks, tiles and pottery, expand on aging due to the update of moisture. The long-term moisture expansion of bricks has been known to structural engineers for some time, as it is the cause of cracking in brick masonry due to expansive stresses. Research at the universities of Manchester and Edinburgh has shown for the first time that this process happens at a constant, but diminishing, rate over thousands of years.
Rehydroxylation (RHX) is the super slow, progressive chemical recombination of environmental moisture with fired-clay material. Research in RHX rapidly evolved from the prediction of expansion in structural masonry to an independent method of dating archaeological ceramics.
RHX dating can provide a date of manufacture for archaeological ceramics by measuring the lifetime mass gain of the ceramic.
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This theme has close links with specialist manufacturers of the precision weighting balances that are necessary for this research.