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Use of Cement Fly Ash and Gypsum as an Alternative Material for Low Cost

Housing (Feasibility Study)


N.S.Naik, Asst.Prof., Civil Engg. Dept. SRES C.O.E. Kopargaon, U.P. Naik, Professor, Civil
Engg.Dept. PREC Loni, Tal.Rahata, Dist. Ahmed Nagar and M.S.Purkar, Professor., Civil Engg.
Dept. SRES C.O.E. Kopargaon.
In Civil Engineering traditionally, we are using different materials in the form of building units.
Some of the building units which we are using for construction are bricks and concrete blocks.
Especially for bricks we have to use good plastic clay as primary raw material. This clay is often
obtained from prime agricultural land, causing degradation as well as economic loss due to
diversion of agricultural land. Manufacturing of bricks produces harmful gases which results in
significant air pollution.
This feasibility study is an attempt to use cement, flyash and waste gypsum for the
manufacturing of building units so as to replace the traditional building material at least
partially.

Introduction
Traditionally, we are using burnt clay bricks for construction. It is a clay product which proved
its importance since the dawn of civilization. For production of bricks, we are using good plastic
clay as primary raw material. This clay is often obtained from prime agricultural land, causing
land degradation as well as economic loss due to diversion of agricultural land. Though clay is
easily and abundantly available in nature, its resources has a threshold limit and utilization of
clay has reached such a point in construction. Excess use of good clay caused erosion of fertile
soil and soil degradation and disturbed the ecology.
The burnt clay brick industry in India produces over 60 billion clay bricks annually resulting in
strong impact on soil erosion and unprocessed emissions. For production of these bricks about
160 million tons of top soil, making barren 7500 acres of fertile land. (1) Because of all these ill
effects, this is proper time to search an alternative of the burnt clay bricks.

Use of Cement, Fly Ash and Phosphors gypsum As An alternative for burnt Clay Bricks
This is new technology which works with the strength of fly ash, lime and gypsum chemistry.
The slow chemistry of fly ash and lime is maneuvered by tapping ettringite phase to its
threshold limits through sufficient limit of gypsum. Therefore, it does not require heavy duty
press or autoclave, which is otherwise required in case of only fly ash and lime. The process
completely eliminates the thermal treatment (except open air drying) and does not require
combustion of any fossil fuel. The ingredients of the units such as bricks and blocks, fly ash,
lime (from OPC) and gypsum are well-known minerals that are widely used in the industries. All
these minerals are available in the form of wastages and by-products from industrial activities.
In certain areas where by product lime is not available in adequate quantity, Ordinary Portland
Cement (OPC) can be used as the source of lime producing the good quality of bricks and
blocks. This technology is proved to be environmentally safe and sound.

Materials
Fly ash used for the present study is obtained from the Thermal Power Plant, Eklehara, Nashik.
As good quality of lime is not available in the vicinity OPC is used as a source of lime and
Phosphogy- psum (CaSO 2H O) is obtained from Savil Agrovates, a Kopargaon based company
producing agricultural product where phosphogypsum is available as a waste.
4

Mix Proportions
Table 1: Mix Proportion
Sr.
Mix
Constituent

materials
(Percentage)
Fly Cemen
P.G.
Ash
t
01
M-1
25
50
25
02
M-2
30
40
30
03
M-3
35
30
35
04
M-4
40
20
40
As our main intention is to search an alternative material for the conventional burnt clay bricks
by using the waste materials and to produce a low cost building material, emphasis is given to
use the waste products to the maximum extent and hence following mix proportions are used
for the present study. The mix proportions are given in the Table No.1 are in terms of dry
weights of the ingredients. Shrinkage cracking is a major weakness in gypsum based blocks.
Shrinkage cracking can be minimized by keeping the water content of the binder as low as
possible.
No. Designation

Methodology
Mixing of Raw Materials
The weighed quantity of Phosphogypsum, Cement and fly ash were thoroughly mixed in dry
state in a pan with the help of a trowel. The mixture in dry state is mixed till it attains a uniform
color. When the mixture attains uniform color weighed quantity of water is added in the mixture
of fly ash, cement and phosphogypsum. After addition of the required quantity of water the
mixture is thoroughly mixed with the help of trowel in a pan. After mixing the mix initially with
the trowel the mixture is again mixed thoroughly by kneading until the mass attained a uniform
consistency.
To calculate the quantity of water to be added Standard normal consistency test was performed
and the water content for the normal consistency was determined. The water content used in
the mix for strength tests was 90% of that required to produce the standard normal consistency.

Preparation of Mortar Blocks


Standard cement mortar cube moulds of size 70.7mm x 70.7mm x 70.7mm were used for
preparation of blocks. The mixed binder was placed in the cube mould and was compacted
properly by rod. Excess paste was hand finished. The mould was filled in three layers and each
layer was compacted properly.

Method of Curing
The blocks were taken out from the moulds after 24 hours. After removal from the moulds the
blocks were kept for air drying for 2 days. After sufficient strength was gained, these blocks
were transferred to water filled curing tanks.

Experimental Work
To check the feasibility of Cement, F.A. and P.G. binder as an alternative material for traditional
burnt clay bricks following tests are performed on the binder.
1.

Compression Strength Test

2.

Water Absorption Test


Above tests were performed as per Indian Standards (18), (19)

Observations

Mix M-1
Cement
50%

Fly ash
25%

Sr.N
o.
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09

Ag
e
07
07
07
14
14
14
28
28
28

P.G.
25%

Observation Table
Surface Area Comp Load in Comp. Strength
in mm
Newton
in MPa
4998.49
55250
11.05
4998.49
66250
13.25
4998.49
72500
14.50
4998.49
90500
18.1
4998.49
88500
17.7
4998.49
88000
17.6
4998.49
118500
23.7
4998.49
117500
23.5
4998.49
117500
23.5
2

Mix M-2
Cement
40%

Fly ash
30%

P.G.
30%

Observation Table
Sr.N Ag
o. e
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09

07
07
07
14
14
14
28
28
28

Surface
Area in
mm
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
2

Compressive
Load in Newton

Compressive
Strength in MPa

48500.00
49000.00
52500.00
85000.00
84500.00
85500.00
104000.00
104000.00
102000.00

9.70
9.80
10.50
17.00
16.90
17.10
20.80
20.80
20.40

Mix M-3
Cement
30%

Fly ash
35%

P.G.
35%

Observation Table
Sr.N Ag
o. e
01 07
02 07

Surface
Area in
mm
4998.49
4998.49
2

Compressive
Load in Newton

Compressive
Strength in MPa

49750.00
48750.00

9.90
9.75

03
04
05
06
07
08
09

07
14
14
14
28
28
28

4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49

50000.00
69500.00
72000.00
72500.00
91000.00
90000.00
90000.00

Mix M-4
Cement
20%

Fly ash
40%

10.00
13.90
14.40
14.50
18.20
18.00
18.20

P.G.
40%

Observation Table
Sr.N Ag
o. e
01
02
03
04
05
06
07
08
09

07
07
07
14
14
14
28
28
28

Surface
Area in
mm
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
4998.49
2

Compressive
Load in Newton

Compressive
Strength in MPa

28500.00
28000.00
28000.00
50000.00
50500.00
49000.00
88000.00
87000.00
87000.00

5.70
5.60
5.60
10.00
10.10
9.80
17.60
17.40
17.40

Graph No.1: Variation of Compressive


Strength with age for M-1 Mix

Graph No.2: Variation of Compressive


Strength with age for M-2 Mix

Graph No.3: Variation of Compressive


Strength with age for M-3 Mix

Graph No.4: Variation of Compressive


Strength with age for M-4 Mix

Water Absorption Test


After casting the cubes of each mix proportion, the cubes were immersed in water and after 28
days of curing the cubes were taken out of the curing tank and their saturated mass was
recorded after the cubes were kept in oven at 1050C and dried to a constant mass and dry
mass of the cubes was recorded. After that finding the difference between the saturated and
dry mass percentage water absorption was calculated.

Density Test
After 28 days of casting, the cubes was dried to a constant mass in an oven at 1050C they were
cooled to room temperature and their density was obtained
Observations: (For density and Water absorption)
Dry
Dry
Sr. Age in Saturated
% water
Mass
density
No. days Mass ( Kg)
absorption
(Kg)
Kn/m3

01
02
03

01
02
03

01
02
03

28
28
28

Mix M-1
0.660
0.510
0.665
0.510
0.665
0.512
Average values

29.41
30.39
29.88
29.89

14.44
14.44
14.50
14.46

28
28
28

Mix M-2
0.650
0.498
0.645
0.495
0.645
0.495
Average values

30.52
30.30
30.30
30.37

14.10
14.02
14.02
14.048

28
28
28

Mix M-3
0.640
0.515
0.645
0.515
0.645
0.515
Average values

24.27
25.24
25.24
24.91

14.58
14.58
14.58
14.58

Mix M-4

01
02
03

28
28
28

0.625
0.520
0.620
0.515
0.625
0.520
Average values

20.19
20.38
20.19
20.25

14.73
14.58
14.73
14.68

Summary of Test Results


Table No. 2 shows summary of all tests results.

Mix

Table 2: Shows Summary Of All Tests Results.


Compressive Strength in Percentage
Dry
MPa
Water
Density in
KN/m
7 days 14 days 28 days Absorption
12.93
17.80
23.56
29.89
14.46
10.00
17.00
20.67
30.37
14.04
9.88
14.26
18.23
24.91
14.58
5.63
9.96
17.46
20.25
14.68
3

M-1
M-2
M-3
M-4

Test Results and Discussions


A large number of blocks were made with different proportions of fly ash, cement and
phosphogyp- sum. The experimental results are presented in graph No.1 to 4 and Table No. 2.
The results of compressive strength are presented in Graph No.1 to 4, Graph No. 1 to 4 show
the compressive strength of cubes having different proportions of fly ash and phosphogypsum.
The results indicate that the cement, F.A. and P.G. Mix have potential to use as building material
as an alternative for traditional burnt clay bricks. This is due to the fact that fly ash acts as a
source of reactive Silica and Alumina, to give Calcium Sulphoaluminate and Silica hydrates,
which are responsible for strength. It is observed that the strength of these blocks increases
with age. The maximum compressive strength of these blocks can be obtained with a specific
proportion of the ingredients. It can be observed from the test results that the strength of the
cubes decreases as the percentage of fly ash and phosphogypsum increases. From the results
of water absorption, For mix M-1 (with 50% fly ash and phosphogypsum) and for M-2 (with 60%
fly ash and phosphogypsum) the percentage water absorption is almost same. For 70% and
80% fly ash and phosphogypsum water absorption decreases.
For economy, the fly ash and phosphogypsum content should be kept as high as possible. The
minimum average crushing strength prescribed in Indian code for burnt clay bricks is 3.5 MPa
(20). As the compressive strength at 7 days for M-4 is 5.63 MPa and that at 14 days is 9.96 MPa,
it can be said that the material is having adequate strength to produce bricks from it.
From Table No.2 it can be observed that the water absorption of cubes in the present
investigation was obtained to be in between 24.91% to 30.37%. As per the code (20) the water
absorption of ordinary burnt clay bricks should not be more than 20% by weight. Clearly the
water absorption for some proportions is more compared to that of traditional burnt clay bricks.
Nevertheless such bricks can be used for curtain wall and partition walls where the
consequences of the high water absorption capacity will be less severe. However, this aspect
certainly needs further investigation.
The weights of various designated cubes are found to be less than that of ordinary burnt clay
bricks. The reduced weight of Cement, F.A. and P.G. will provide a working comfort and ease of
handling, in addition to reduction in dead weight of structures.

Conclusion

Based on the experimental investigation reported in this study, following conclusions are
drawn.
Unique possibility exists for the bulk utilization of fly ash in producing bricks from Cement, F.A.
and P.G. in the proximity of thermal power plants, phosphoric acid and fertilizer industries.
The test cubes are having sufficient strength and have potential as a replacement for
conventional burnt clay bricks.
Cementitious binder with fly ash and phosphogypsum content equal to 80% gives better
compressive strength and 20.25% water absorption and thus suitable for use in construction
industry.
Being lighter in weight, Cement, F.A. and P.G. mix will reduce the dead weight and material
handling cost in multi storied constructions. The utilization of wastes in making cementitious
binder will help in solving the disposal and health hazard problems. It is further needed to
develop awareness among users, professionals and financial supporters for using these waste
materials for techno-economic reasons in addition to balance economy and achieve energy
conservation. The use of these wastes for building industries will definitely reduce the
environmental pollution which will be there because of use of burnt clay bricks. Such products
can be used for low cost construction practices.

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