Development of Sustainable Masonry Brick
Tomy, Tintu Kizhakkethundathil
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Implementation of environmentally-friendly and cost-effective building designs has been a persistent challenge to the civil engineering community. The current study aims to develop innovative masonry bricks which could open up the prospects in the future for inexpensive construction. It is also envisioned that if adopted, the proposed process of the brick fabrication could benefit the brick manufacturing industry by curtailing the carbon dioxide foot-print and firing energy levels without compromising the prescribed mechanical and physical properties of the resulting product. The research explores the potential of incorporating HBS-polymer which is a biologically-inert product produced after various treatment processes in the Environmental Laboratory of Lassonde, and Incinerated Sewage Sludge Ash (ISSA) obtained from biological treatment facilities as alternative raw materials in manufacturing low cost and environmentally-friendly masonry bricks. The development of geopolymer masonry bricks, that ensures minimum of 40% reuse of waste glass by weight per brick is an another actively pursued area of the current research. The geo-polymerization process was done using quarried shale, Recycled Crushed Glass (RCG) and sodium silicate. In contrast to the conventional masonry bricks fired exclusively over 1000 degree Celsius for no less than 24 hours, the geopolymer bricks were made at a firing temperature of 400 degree Celsius for four hours. In both cases the materials considered are used in partial replacement of shale, which in turn makes the geopolymer bricks and the Incinerated Sewage Sludge Ash bricks a potentially sustainable construction material in the sense that it uses wastes to replace the use of irreplaceable natural resources. The resulting hybrid bricks will be tested for the effect in compressive strength, flexural strength, split tensile strength, ultrasonic pulse velocity, cold as well as hot water absorption, saturation coefficient, efflorescence, freeze thaw damage, and resonant frequency, all being part of the established quality control procedures in this industry. For the HBS-polymer bricks, the findings indicate that, while the compressive strength, hot as well as cold water absorption and resistance to freeze-thaw damage of hybrid bricks was on par with the control brick without any shale replacement, HBS polymer bricks were much lighter (apparently owing to a better distribution of fine pores and without a commensurate increase in water absorption capacity). The results from the study of the Geo-polymer bricks, Bio-polymer bricks and SSA bricks suggest that they can be a promising solution for the long debated economical building construction with a reduced carbon footprint and firing energy while offering an alternative to landfill disposal of waste.