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Concrete Based on Agricultural Waste Materials

Concrete Based on Agricultural Waste Materials

Researchers from Monash University Malaysia analyzed the engineering properties of concrete produced using widespread agricultural wastes

Increasing amount of waste generated is a major concern for a sustainable environment. According to a report by the World Bank, over 2.01 billion tons of solid waste was generated in cities worldwide in 2016, which amounted for a footprint of 0.74 kg per person per day. The phenomenon of rapid waste generation is highly evident in urban poor regions in emerging economies. Improper waste management or accumulation can lead to several disease vectors and also increase methane emission that can contribute to global warming. Now, a team of researchers from Monash University Malaysia assessed general properties of selected agricultural wastes that are suitable for concrete production.

The team compared the properties of palm oil fuel ash, rice husk ash, sugarcane bagasse ash, and bamboo leaf ash with ordinary Portland cement. Palm oil fuel ash is one of the major cash crops in several tropical countries.  It can be used in concrete either as aggregates, supplementary cementitious materials or as filler material, owing to its high amorphous content with silicon dioxide as the main constituent. Rice is one of the three major food crops worldwide. Rice husk is used to produce various useful products. The rice husk ash contains 90–96% amorphous silica, which can be used as alternative binder for concrete.

Sugarcane bagasse ash is produced as a fibrous residue after crushing and juice extraction in water media in sugar factories. It contains large amounts of silicon dioxide and significant amount of aluminum oxide, iron (iii) oxide, and calcium oxide, which makes it an excellent option as binder to cement in concrete production. Bamboo leaf ash is rich with silicon dioxide and demonstrates high pozzolanic reaction when used as binders for producing concrete. According to the researchers, increasing focus is required on the long-term properties of agricultural waste materials, along with development in production technology. The research was published in the journal MDPI Materials on April 3, 2019.