Face brick wall made with manganese umber

Manganese Oxide For Bricks, Tiles and Pavers, The Costs, Benefits & Uses

In this article we’re going to bring you everything you need to know about Manganese oxide, its chemical formula, why it’s used as an additive for made bricks, tiles, and pavers. It’s benefits, costs and it’s various other names and uses. We’re also going to explore the difference between this and another often confusingly similar chemical.

So first let’s give you a quick answer to provide you with an overview -

What is manganese oxide used for? A naturally occurring mine resource which is further processed as a bi-product of Ferro-Manganese alloy refining or used in its naturally occuring state which is mined. Manganese Oxide is used in the health industry, oil, glass and chemical industries and animal feed. In tile, paving and brick manufacture, manganese is a powdered pigment used to create blue, grey, black and primarily brown coloured clay products.

Manganese Oxide is actually used in many applications all around us, we probably come in contact with Manganese Oxide daily in the ways that it’s used. It’s simply that you can’t see it. As a natural element, it has many uses. It might be that you’re aware of some of its uses, but are you aware of all of them? Let’s explore further...

Manganese Oxide Classification and Description

Manganese Oxide or Manganese dioxide is actually an inorganic compound that’s given the formula MnO2. This blackish or brown solid material occurs naturally as the mineral ‘pyrolusite’, which is the main ore of manganese. The formula for this is MnO, Mn02 or also Mn3O4.

When used as a pigment for bricks, manganese oxide is a synthetic compound of hausmannite, Mn2O3 (manganese trioxide) and also MnO (manganosite). It can be also used abd contain MnO2 (manganese dioxide) to produce MnO2 brick. Finally Mn3O4 can be used to produce Mn3O4 bricks

Mn3O4 comes from ferro manganese refining, it’s also commonly mined and used as a naturally occurring Braunite/ umbers in the following applications. It is used to produce very dark strong brown bricks or Mn3O4 brick. It is also used to produce a dark brown brick with clays not are not stable at higher firing temperature and require a stronger manganese to make the shade of brown required.

house built with manganese oxide coloured bricks

Among other varieties of industries, Manganese Oxide powder & Manganese Dioxide is used as a colour agent, within red firing clay to make a darker shade of slug materials, often mainly used to produce brown & dark brown ceramic bricks, facing bricks, roof tiles & pavers.

It’s used globally to make dark brown bricks and ceramic bricks that are mainly visible, such as ceramic bricks and facing bricks.

Manganese Oxide - Other Names

Manganese Oxide is often referred to under other names, here’s a selection of names you might also know Manganese Oxide as...

Manganese Dioxide (MnO2)Manganese Dioxide (MnO)Manganese (IV) Oxide
Black Manganese OxideBrauniteManganese Umber
Manganese dioxide orePyrolusiteManganous Oxide (MnO)
Mn3O4 BrickMnO2 Brick

Advantages of using Manganese Oxide

Using Manganese Oxide brings about two main advantages that improve the current brick structure and use.
1. It can reduce Water absorption still further compared to red bricks
2. Improves the surface structure, thereby making it smoother and more uniform and easier to work with
3. The result is a brick colour that’s more pleasing to the eye

Pallet of brown bricks

Manganese for Staining Bricks, Tiles, and Pavers

Manganese oxide is a synthetic compound of hausmannite, Mn2O3 (manganese trioxide) and MnO (manganosite). Its commonly used as a colour agent, or pigment for the manufacture of clay bricks.

Manganese Oxide is used in the colouring and production process of bricks to produce varying shades of bricks other than the standard red bricks you normally see. Colours using Manganese Oxide, Manganese Umber provide a great range of browns from Dark Brown to light brown throughout the body of your clay, whether it’s bricks or other products such as.

● Ceramic tiles
● Roof Tiles
● Paving Slabs
● Bricks
● Pavers
● Facing bricks

Exact colour and shading can vary depending on the type of clay used, other materials and other factors.

How Manganese Dioxide is Applied in Producing Tiles, Bricks, and Paving Slabs

If we use the example of producing bricks, then there’s a specific point at which Manganese Umber is applied to the process.

Shale is broken up and left to weather for up to two years. Once it has become more brittle it is then gathered and broken up into small fragments. Water is then applied to the fragments and mixed to form a cement-like, paste clay mixture. It is at this point that a specific amount of Manganese Umber is applied - per ton, to create the colour of material required.

Once the Manganese Dioxide is mixed in, the mixture is then extruded through a rectangular frame to produce a long rectangle piece - resembling a long brick. This is called the Slug.

The slug then moves on to other parts of the process which involve adding holes to make it lighter, cutting to the correct size, and then firing the bricks to harden off the clay. After some final product testing, the bricks are then ready. The colour will be impregnated into the material at source, so it is consistent, permanent and natural-looking.

Roof tiles made with manganese oxide

What is Braunite

Braunite is an important manganese ore within the group of ‘compound oxides. It's a complex chemical composition usually expressed with the chemical formula Mn2+Mn63+SiO12. When in a tetragonal system it will crystallize, meaning it forms crystals of dipyramidal habit.

It’s naturally formed into more compact, granular type aggregates. The colour is described as black with a semi-metallic and matte black lustre. It has a denseness score on the hardness scale of 4 and can contain a low level of magnetism

We use Braunite for ceramics bricks, roof tiles, and pavers. For these ceramic applications, it’s very cost-effective in producing natural brown hues within the fabric of the clay.

Why We Use Manganese Oxide

For us at African Pegmatite, Manganese is a real colourant product of choice. After our processes have finished, the results produce a natural and aesthetic effect, making it the latest trend in building materials and a popular latest style-driven product that we’re asked to use for bricks, ceramic tiles, and roof tiles.

Not only that, but Manganese is an extremely cost-effective way of applying these on-trend and natural shades of brown pigmentation to red firing clay - on a mass scale, using as little as 1% - 8% ...depending on the manganese content, and the firing temperatures, which range from 850 - 1250 degrees Celsius.

It’s also an extremely effective colouring agent too, and the natural colour of brown hues blends seamlessly to create a natural feel to our full-body ceramics - in the special way we apply it to the clay.

These advantages enable African Pegmatite to offer the best value brown ceramic oxide/manganese globally, thereby ensuring our customers get beautiful hues of brown that are cost-effective, striking and noticeable.

Product Advancements

At African Pegmatite we’re constantly investing resources to find new and improved ways to bring the latest trends and exciting products to our clients. We’ve even developed a black brick, grey firing oxide, as well as a trademark ‘true-red’ brick manganese. Not to be confused with the standard orange or Terracotta you’re used to, but actual striking red, contact us now for further details on this.

Consultancy of Manganese Oxide

When it comes to your ceramic requirements, we recommend discussing them with us, partly because the capability depends on the firing temperature stability of your clay at specific temperatures. This is where we can apply our expertise on what colours you can expect to achieve with your clay.

This can be better assessed too if you can send us a clay sample. We’ll gladly run thorough tests which will provide an accurate assessment of the possible colours you can obtain. This allows you to depart from the natural colour your clay fires.

We’re specialised in making these colours with superb results. We have 50 years of operating experience - and generations of experience in the field.

Roof tiles

Varying Products

Adding in Manganese Umber at a specific point in the process during manufacture produces a much more natural finish than using other types of products that try to emulate this process after the bricks have been used.

Other Applications

As well as bricks, pavers, roof tiles, and other tiles, MnO2 is used as both a colourant and a decolorizer in glass, as well as whiteware, some enamels, and pottery.

Battery cathode mixes and electronics also use Manganese Oxides. There are also trials underway for using Manganese in the manufacture of solid-state Lithium-ion batteries for the automobile industry. There are also health and vitamin applications that make use of Manganese in its pure form.

What We Do

At African Pegmatite we produce and supply Manganese Umber specifically for colouring bricks, tiles, roof tiles, and pavers, or any other clay-based products.

We provide these alongside similar products for other materials, such as Chrome flour, and K37 for ceramic black bricks, tiles, roof tiles, and pavers. Red Oxide and Yellow Ochre, for Cement, Mortar, and Concrete Mixes. Red Kaolin for many purposes from fillers to ceramics. And finally Glass Powder, for Ceramic porcelain enamel.

It’s an easy choice to make, for the colour requirements for your bricks, tiles, roof tiles or pavers then Manganese Umber from African Pegmatite is a natural choice. We have a range and quality products to match your needs, and we provide excellent support for our customers, right from discussing their projects and requirements through to after-sales care.

Why not get in touch with us today and let us help you with your Manganese Oxide requirements.

Roof tiles with windows


We hope this has provided an overview, and a guide on Manganese Oxide and we’ve outlined below what our Manganese Umber and other similar products are used for. If you have any questions then feel free to get in touch and we’ll be happy to assist.