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No Pulp Fiction: Bricks of Paper Waste

Monday, January 28, 2013

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It may sound unappetizing, but a novel mix of clay, sludge, paper waste and ceramics is producing a new kind of insulating brick that holds potentially significant economic and environmental benefits.

Researchers at the University of Jaen in Spain are developing the material, which reuses recycled cellulous waste from a paper factory and sludge from the purification of its waste water. The mixture is then combined with clay and a ceramic construction material, and passed through a pressure and extrusion machine.

Bricks made from paper waste
Images, video: SINC

Researchers at the University of Jaen explain their process, which uses paper waste and ceramic construction material to make economical, insulating bricks.

The process (think sausage or Play-Doh) produces bricks with low thermal conductivity that act as good insulators, according to a video demonstration of the process, developed at the Upper Polytechnic School of Linares.

"The use of paper industry waste could bring about economic and environmental benefits as it means that material considered as waste can be reused as raw material," researchers reported.

Their work, "Recovering wastes from the paper industry: Development of ceramic materials," has been published in Fuel Processing Technology.

"Adding waste means that the end product has low thermal conductivity and is therefore a good insulator," explains Carmen Martínez, researcher at the University of Jaen, in a release by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT). "In addition to the resulting benefit of using these bricks instead of their traditional counterparts made of traditional raw materials."
 
University of Jaen bricks

The team's pressure and extrusion manufacturing process is something like making sausage, or squeezing out Play-Doh logs.

Adding waste to the brick prototypes means that they provide energy due to their organic material content, researchers say. That could help to reduce fuel consumption and kiln time required for brick production.
 
Brick by Brick
 
The prototype brick is small—just 3 x 1 x 6 cm. But the team has also successfully been testing larger bricks, reports say.
 
"On the whole, this technique could bring about a saving in energy and raw materials for brick factories along with environmental benefits from the use of waste that is initially discarded,"  said Martínez.
 
The chief drawback of the prototypes (their "Achilles heel," according to FECYT) is their lower mechanical resistance compared to traditional bricks, "although this parameter is above the legal minimum," the foundation reports.
University of Jaen bricks

Researchers are working to strengthen the bricks' mechanical resistance.

In addition, "there are still a few problems to solve in the adherence and shaping of those pieces that have high percentages of paper waste," the foundation reports.
 
The team is thus tweaking its recipe with other products, including residues from the beer, olive and biodiesel industries.
 
In a separate study, the same researchers have reported that biodiesel waste can be used for brick manufacture, thus increasing insulation capacity by 40 percent.

 
 
"Adding waste means that the end product has low thermal conductivity and is therefore a good insulator," explains Carmen Martínez, researcher at the University of Jaen. "In addition to the resulting benefit of using these bricks instead of their traditional counterparts made of traditional raw materials." Another of the advantages of adding waste to the brick prototypes is that they provide energy due to their organic material content. This could help to reduce fuel consumption and kiln time required for brick production. At the moment the prototype's dimensions are small (3 x 1 x 6 cm). But the team has already tested larger bricks and the results are similar. "On the whole, this technique could bring about a saving in energy and raw materials for brick factories along with environmental benefits from the use of waste that is initially discarded," adds Martínez. The researcher recognises, however, that the 'Achilles heel' of these bricks is their lower mechanical resistance compared to traditional bricks, although this parameter is above the legal minimum. There are still a few problems to solve in the adherence and shaping of those pieces that have high percentages of paper waste. The team continues in their search for the happy medium between sustainability and material resistance and is still researching the advantages of adding other products, such as sludge from water treatment plants or residues from the beer, olive and biodiesel industries. In the Fuel Processing Technology journal itself, the researchers have published another study confirming that biodiesel waste can be used for brick manufacture, thus increasing insulation capacity by 40%. More information: Carmen Martínez, Teresa Cotes, Francisco A. Corpas. "Recovering wastes from the paper industry: Development of ceramic materials". D. Eliche-Quesada, S. Martínez-Martínez, L. Pérez-Villarejo, F. J. Iglesias-Godino, C. Martínez-García, F.A. Corpas-Iglesias. "Valorizationof biodiesel production residues in making porous clay brick". Fuel Processing Technology 103, 2012. Doi: 10.1016/j.fuproc.2011.10.017 and 10.1016/j.fuproc.2011.11.013 Provided by Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT) search and more info

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-12-paper-bricks.html#jCp

   

Tagged categories: Brick; Construction; Insulation; Recycled building materials; Research

Comment from Catherine Brooks, (1/30/2013, 2:36 PM)

I read about a man in Africa who has developed bricks from the waste beef blood from processing plants. The bricks do not require high heat ovens to bind them. Another great benefit is the creation of jobs in underdeveloped countries.


Comment from Catherine Brooks, (1/30/2013, 2:36 PM)

I read about a man in Africa who has developed bricks from the waste beef blood from processing plants. The bricks do not require high heat ovens to bind them. Another great benefit is the creation of jobs in underdeveloped countries.


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