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Title: Agricultural straw fibre reinforced concrete for potential industrial ground-floor slab application
Author: Nepal, B.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8505 6045
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2019
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The primary objective of this research was to advance, through experimental research, knowledge on the use of agricultural straw fibre reinforcement in concrete. The focus is on the manufacture of straw composites, development of concrete matrix and investigation of concrete samples by various tests and standards to assess suitability for using in ground-floor slab application. Synthetic fibres such as steel and polypropylene used in construction industry are not only expensive, but carbon emissions produced during their manufacture and non-renewability of such fibres have been a big challenge in the construction industry. Due to recent trends and growth towards sustainable building materials, the focus of this research was into the use of straw fibres, which are a by-product of crops and are produced in large quantities. Straw also do not have significant economic usage and generally is disposed of by farmers often by open air burning. This practice has caused huge air pollution and deteriorates health of many people all over the world. Development of straw composites through this research not only helps to utilize the straw that are not utilized currently for any economic benefits, but also prevents unsafe disposal. This in fact leads to reduced greenhouse gas emissions by reducing open air burning, use of biodegradable locally available material and replace synthetic non-renewable fibres in construction practices. The composite fibres developed embodies a sustainable path for future researchers and fibre manufacturers towards a clean construction industry. Both rice and wheat straw fibres treated with boiled water displayed increase in tensile strength. There was increase in strength by 38% and 55% respectively as compared to its raw state. However, the tensile strength was not sufficient enough to form a stronger bond with concrete as a replacement of commercial fibres. Hence composite fibres were manufactured and tested that comprise of straw fibres mixed with different polymer compounds. Composite fibres with up to 35% straw fibre content was determined to be optimum fibre reinforcement in concrete. These composite fibres have similar tensile strength and ductility characteristics as industrially available synthetic fibres. For 1% volume fraction of concrete of straw composite fibre, the residual tensile strength was 1.88 MPa at 0.47 mm deflection of the beam and 1.33 MPa for 3.02 mm deflection. Through the successful completion of development of several series of straw polymer composite fibres, this study demonstrates that the use of straw fibres can be a viable alternative to synthetic fibres. These fibres are not only easy to manufacture and cost effective, they help to conserve energy, have higher design flexibility and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral