manganese dioxide coloured roof tiles

Manganese Dioxide
Used in the Production of Tiles, Ceramic Bricks and Pavers
Advantages and Features

This article is going to highlight all the features and benefits of manganese dioxide. Including its chemical composition, cost, benefits, and why it’s an essential additive for the production of ceramic, tiles, pavers and bricks. Also, this article will highlight other similar chemical compounds.

Before we dive straight into the overview, first a few specifics;

Manganese is a naturally occurring mine resource that can be additionally processed into Ferro-Manganese alloy which can either be further refined or used in its originally occurring mined state. MnO2 is used for several purposes and in several industries including oil, glass, health and animal feed industry. Similarly, it is popularly used in the production of bricks, ceramic, tiles and pavers – here; powdered pigments are used to make blue, black, grey and often brown coloured clay products.

It is also widely used in the production of various items, including most household items. However, chances are that you never take notice of this natural element or perhaps you are aware of only a handful of products where it is used. Let’s dig in deeper now to reveal more about this naturally occurring element.

coloumns of diffrent colour bricks using manganese dioxide

Classification and Description

Represented by the chemical formula MnO2, Manganese dioxide is an inorganic compound. Usually appearing brown or blackish, it is a solid mineral that exists naturally as an ore of Manganese in the form of ‘pyrolusite’ – which is represented by the chemical formula MnO, MnO2 and Mn3O4.

When used as a pigment in the production of bricks, it also exists as the synthetic compound of hausmannite, MnO (manganosite) and also Mn2O3 (manganese trioxide). MnO2 bricks and Mn3O4 bricks are produced in large volumes globally for its use as a brown clay pigment

dark coloured clay roof tile

Derived from the refining of ferromanganese, Mn3O4 is usually mined and exists naturally as umbers or braunite in several applications including the production of dense and strong brown bricks owing to the addition of a brown clay pigment. Likewise, it can also be employed in the production of dark brown bricks with a combination of clay, which is unstable when fired at extremely high temperatures and requires a stronger variant of manganese to produce a darker shade of brown.

Manganese dioxides and oxide powder are also used in the production of dark shades of red fired clay and in the production of dark brown facing bricks, ceramic bricks, pavers and roof tiles.

Manganese Other Names

Below are some of the most common name and alternatives:

Manganese Dioxide (MnO2) Manganese Dioxide (MnO) Manganese (IV) Oxide
Black Manganese Oxide Braunite Manganese Umber
Manganese Hausmanite Mn3O4
Manganese dioxide ore Pyrolusite Manganous Oxide (MnO)
Mn3O4 Brick MnO2 Brick

Merits of Manganese Oxide

Manganese has two major advantages that both help to improve the use and structure of bricks.

  1. As opposed to regular red bricks, MnO2 bricks and Mn3O4 bricks absorbs less water
  2. Greatly improves the surface structure of bricks, making it a more smooth and homogenous choice.
  3. The result; a smoother, refined and uniform brick structure that is pleasing to the eyes.
bricks on pallets

Manganese for Colouring Tiles, Bricks and Pavers

Manganese is commonly used as a pigment or colour agent in the production of clay MnO2 bricks and  Mn3O4 bricks. However, it can also be used to produce other shades of bricks as opposed to the popular red often associated with clay bricks. Similarly, Manganese Umber can also be used to create the same effect. Some of these range of colours include various shades of brown, ranging from light to dark. Apart from clay, Manganese may also as a colour agent for;

  • Roof tiles
  • Facing bricks
  • Bricks
  • Ceramic tiles
  • Pavers
  • Paving slabs

The exact colour is often dependent on some factors, including the nature of the clay used for the production process.

roof tiles coloured with manganese dioxide

The Role and Application of Manganese Dioxide in The Production of Slabs, Bricks. Tiles and Paving

For the production of bricks, Manganese umber is carefully introduced into the production process at a particular stage.

Shale, which is weathered and allowed to disintegrate for around a couple of years, once brittle, is shattered into smaller bits. Water is then introduced to the bits and pieces and uniformly mixed until the mixture assumes a clay-like texture. At this stage, calculated amounts of Manganese umber is introduced to the mixture – this is usually added on a per ton basis, depending on the exact colour required.

Once Manganese dioxide has been added to form a homogenous mixture, it is then extruded via a long rectangular pipe, where it is then called the slug.

The slug then passes through a variety of processes that will determine its size, its weight and then the final hardening of the clay – all of which is done according to the preference of the finished clay product. Once the hardened clay has passed quality checks, colour pigments are introduced to the material so that it assumes one fine and consistent uniform colour.

Braunite Explained

bricks on pallets

Braunite is an ore of manganese that falls into a group referred to as ‘compound oxides’. Braunite is represented by the chemical formula Mn2+Mn64+SiO12. Braunite will often crystallise and form small crystals of dipyramidal habit when placed in a tetragonal system.

Braunite often spots a pure black, matte black lustre or semi-metallic black colour. Additionally, it can be said to exhibit partial magnetism properties and ranks 4 on the denseness hardness scale.

Braunite is commonly used in the production of pavers, bricks and roof tiles – in these applications; Braunite is known to produce natural brown hues that shine on the surface of the clay.

Why We Use Manganese Oxide

At African Pegmatite, Manganese is our ideal choice of colourant. Manganese has been found to proffer the most natural and aesthetic effect for all our style and creativity-driven manufacturing products ranging from roof tiles to bricks and ceramic tiles.

Also, it proves the most cost-effective method of adding brown clay pigment to red fired clay. Manganese content of as little as 1-8% is required for large industrial productions, although the final colouring of red fired clay will be highly dependent on the manganese content and the firing temperature.

Manganese produces deep or light natural shades of brown – depending on the preference and content – to create a natural texture and feel to all our ceramic products, due to the skill and method used in its application to the clay.

These listed advantages are some of the primary reasons why we stand head over shoulders in the industry and why African Pegmatite is widely adored by all of our customers. We produce natural, beautiful brown hues, that are affordable, pleasing to the eyes and meticulously crafted.

Product Advancements

Because we are pioneers and pacesetters at African Pegmatite, we continuously invest and seek new ways to improve both our production style and methods, in a bid to consistently offer innovative and exciting products to our clients. Recently, we developed a grey firing oxide, black brick and our exclusive ‘true red’ brick manganese – this isn’t the regular Terracotta or usual orange you are familiar with, but rather a brick with amazing and striking red details. Contact us to learn more about our newest product.

Building built with K37 Black bricks with window

Consultancy Services

We would be more than thrilled to help you with any ceramic related discussions or special requirements that you may have. Since a variety of factors such as firing temperatures and the specific kind of clay can affect the outcome, we recommend that you share your concerns and preferences with us. This will further help us envision your idea and create an intriguing replica.

We also encourage you to send us a sample of your clay. This would enable us to run further real-life test to offer you several options on a choice of colour, texture and style. Also, this would help you imagine what the final product will be like based on your selection.

With over half century years of experience, we are indeed gifted experts at making clay come alive in various vibrant colours.

bricks laying on their side

Other Products

We can also introduce Manganese umber at certain points in the manufacturing process to produce a wide range of textures and finishes.

Other Applications

Besides roof tiles, bricks, pavers and other conventional tile products, Manganese can act as both a decolouriser and colourant in whiteware, glass, pottery and some types of enamels.

Electronics and Battery cathode mixes also use Manganese oxides in certain stages of their manufacturing processes. A future possibility, pending the completion of trials, is the use of Manganese in the production of solid-state Lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles. Also, the health industry uses Manganese in its pure form to make a variety of health supplements.

stacks of clay roof tiles

What We Do

African Pegmatite is a dealer and expert in both the production and distribution of Manganese umber – precisely the kind used for colouring pavers, bricks and a host of other clay related products.

Besides, we can also provide similar items such as K37 and Chrome flour for tiles, pavers, ceramic black bricks, and roof tiles. Similarly, we also deal on Yellow Ochre for Mortar, Concrete Mixes and Cement. We can also supply Kaolin for making ceramics and lastly, Glass Powder for the manufacture of Ceramic porcelain.

We have a wide range of products and choices to meet the needs of our excellent and growing clientele base. Also, we continue to offer support and top-notch after-sales service long after delivery.

For all your brown clay pigment needs and more, contact African Pegmatite today.


We sincerely hope that this article has provided a comprehensive brief and guide, don’t hesitate to contact us today, we would be thrilled and more than willing to assist.

manganese umber powder in a pot