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Title: Development of wood-crete building material
Authors: Aigbomian, Eboziegbe Patrick
Advisors: Fan, M
Keywords: Low-cost housing and affordable housing;Construction waste and local building material;Compressive strength;Sawdust and waste paper;Thermal conductivity and water absorption
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Brunel University
Abstract: Main concerns in the building industry includes the development of alternative building materials that reduces the amount of energy spent during manufacturing process and easier to work with. Wood-crete is a composite material developed in this study, made up of wood waste (sawdust), paper, tradical lime and water. Wood-crete is developed to provide an alternative material in construction solving problems associated with the delivery of low-cost housing across all income earners, reducing the amount of energy spent during manufacturing process of construction materials and the ease with which these construction materials are developed and solve issues related to waste management. This thesis presents the processing technologies, factors which affect the performance and properties of wood-crete. Wood-crete properties were found to be closely related to the composition of the constituent elements though compressive strength and modulus of elasticity were low when compared to other building materials like concrete and steel. In a bid to improve the strength of the developed wood-crete, the properties were investigated based on the modification of sawdust by hot water boiling and alkaline treatments which help to modify cellulose fibre surface to reduce the hydrophilic nature of sawdust thereby improving the sawdust-matrix bonding. It was found that the surface modification, processing of cellulosic fibril and the extraction of lignin and hemi-cellulosic compounds with alkali had an effect on the compressive strength of wood-crete, with treating sawdust with 4% NaOH at 140mins of boiling time achieving the highest compressive strength and boiling sawdust from 100mins to 140mins had a gradual increase in compressive strength but reduced at higher boiling time. Furthermore, treating sawdust with NaOH more than 4% weakened the individual wood particles thus leading to poor strength of wood-crete. Additionally, the properties of wood-crete were investigated based on the type of wood sawdust – hardwood (beech and oak) and softwood (pine and cedar). Apart from individual wood density having a significant effect on the density of wood-crete, other factors such as lignin, cellulose, hemicellulose contents including fibre length of individual wood species affect the strength properties of wood-crete. The compressive strength of wood-crete was closely related to the wood species, with highest compressive strength of 3.93MPa recorded for hardwood wood-crete compared to 1.37MPa and 0.26MPa of wood-crete from softwood and mixed wood respectively. Results from thermal conductivity tests on wood-crete also show that wood-crete blocks can be produced with good insulating properties for building construction. Addition of different types of paper fibres to reduce the density of wood-crete and improve the insulating properties of composite developed also had a dominant influence on both strength and thermal conductivity, reflecting its effect on the structure of composite and contribution of self strength of paper fibres. The addition of various percentages of waste paper (de-fibred) had a significant influence on the thermal conductivity of wood-crete with 75% addition of waste paper achieving a thermal conductivity value of 0.046W/mK performed with the TCi thermal conductivity analyser. Thermal conductivity results for wood-crete made from hardwood and softwood sawdust was closely related to the chemical composition of various wood species, with softwood wood-crete having about 20% lower thermal conductivity compared to hardwood wood-crete. The developed wood-crete was able to withstand impact load and considered, like hempcrete, most suitable for wall panelling or other non- and semi-structural applications with good thermal insulating properties. Findings of this study provides an alternative new material for the construction industry and an important background for achieving better strength of wood-crete, choosing what type of sawdust to be used for development of wood-crete and for directing a better use of this potential material with very small embodied energy and carbon negative.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Dept of Mechanical Aerospace and Civil Engineering Theses

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