Sunday, 17 February 2013

Paper bricks as a building material

Two Nagpur (India) based researchers have developed a kind of paper brick that can be used for internal partitions, temporary structures and perhaps structures in earthquake prone zones in the future. It was a visit to a paper recycle mill by Sachin Mandavgane and Rahul Ralegaonkar which really got the ball rolling. The researchers from the Visvesvarya National Institute of Technology in India found that the sludge waste from the paper recycling process was being dumped in landfill and felt instead the waste material could be put to better use.

To produce the waste paper bricks, 90% recycled paper mill waste (RPMW) is mechanically mixed and pressed with 10% cement and placed into steel moulds until the moisture has drained. The bricks are then left out in the sun to dry. The semi-dried brick is then compressed further to remove more moisture and is then again left out in the sun to dry until solid. The end product is a recycled paper brick that can be used internally.

There are obviously drawbacks of the product which are mainly related to the material - paper - itself. The brick has excellent absorption qualities and thus retains water so cannot be used outdoors. The team are currently working on waterproofing the material so it can be used for external use. However, there are also great advantages of the product such as them being half the price of normal bricks and much lighter. The simplicity of production also means that they can be manufactured fairly simply using local labour. 

For more information see here

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