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Papercrete : A Lightweight Concrete

Yogesh D. Shermale Dr. M. B. Varma

PG student Associate Professor
Govt. College of Engineering, Govt. College of Engineering,
Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India. Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India

Abstract: The majority of abandoned waste paper accumulating from the countries all over the world causes
certain serious environmental problems. The high volume of concrete offers a complete solution to the problem
of meeting the increasing demands for concrete in the future in a sustainable manner and at a reduced cost. At the
same time, it is necessary to reduce the environmental impact of industries that are vital to economic development.
Papercrete is a new construction material made most often with waste paper, cement and water. People have been
using Papercrete to build low cost homes without a clear understanding of its structural properties. The purpose
of this study is to obtain some mechanical and physical parameters of papercrete by doing some trial mixes of
papercrete with different material. This research identified acceptable property ranges necessary for using a
structural papercrete facility and recorded compressive strength that were too weak to build an economical
structure. The identification of a hybrid papercrete-concrete structure produced results and economics within
acceptable ranges. From this study it is observed that papercrete is a ductile material that can sustain large
deformations than normal concrete.
Keywords- ductile material, papercrete, wastepaper, mechanical properties.

1. Introduction walls in high- rise buildings in seismically active

These days CO2 emission which made from areas. Using it in place of concrete could reduce the
construction sites because of cement using is big issue gauge of steel framework and the depth of foundations
for all the countries. On the other hand, peoples desire required, thus significantly decreasing the amounts of
to live eco-environment is continuously increasing. In labor and energy expenses.
order to resolve these kinds of matters, this study Objective:
carried out. Papercrete is a new composite material 1. To study, analyze and determine whether or
using waste paper. By using the waste paper, not subjective evidence is accurate.
papercrete is not only reducing the amount of cement 2. To determine a working Youngs modulus
using but also making environmentally friendly (E) of various samples in order to choose the
building materials.[6] mixture that has the highest stiffness and
Papercrete is a material originally developed lowest deformation.
80 years ago but it is only recently rediscovered. 3. Establish whether or not Papercrete can be
Papercrete is a fibrous cementitious compound used as a construction material for building
comprising waste paper and Portland cement. These low cost homes.
two components are blended with water to create a
paper cement pulp, which can then be poured into a 1. 2. Literature Review
mould, allowed to dry and be utilized as a durable Tonks et al (2004) conducted an experiment
building material. It should be noted that papercrete is on buildings constructed by utilizing discarded
a relatively new concept with limited scope.[1] telephone books. The researchers believed that these
Papercrete can be an environment friendly are viable and in fact this method conformed to the
solution to the need of affordable housing. In requirements of the Newzeland Building Act. They
papercrete construction, the mortar, exterior stucco, also suggested that the construction process is labour-
and interior plaster can be made with the same paper intensive, rather than skill-based, but care is needed
material so much of wood and other construction when selecting the volumes and placing them into
materials used in framing can be saved. position. Services, power and communication can be
Papercrete has good sound absorption accommodated within the walls, while it is preferable
characteristics. Papercrete made with certain mixes to run wet services within the slab. This construction
are resistant to fire, fungi, and pests of all kinds. method is analogous to both earth and straw buildings
Papercrete blocks made with a sufficient quantity of and in a similar manner is suited to the do it yourself
Portland cement and sand are fire retardant. building owner / constructor.[2]
Papercrete blocks can be easily made fireproof by Fuller et al (2006) formulated that for
coating them with a solution of boric acid and borax. decades intrepid environmentalist have been building
By using a concrete sealer the papercrete blocks can homes and other structures with materials that recycle
be made waterproof. waste paper into an alternative construction material
Papercrete is also known for its light weight made with cement and other ingredients. They
and because of this property it can be used for interior claimed that these Papercrete structures are strong
and good at durable and insulating. But they had no b) Cement
research to backup their claims until now. They were c) Sand
cast into seventeen group of papercrete mix
proportions. The parameters that he studied are the The papers which were collected could not be used
Youngs Modulus (E), thermal conductivity (K), directly. Before mixing with other ingredients, papers
thermal resistance (R), bond characteristics, and creep were converted into slurry form, known as pulp. First
behavior. The Stress vs. Strain graphs suggests that, the pins, threads and other materials were removed.
papercrete is a ductile material that can sustain large Then the papers were torn into small pieces and all the
deformations. Cement plays an important role in the torn pieces of paper were immersed in water (Figure
compressive strength and behavior. Specimens with 1). The papers were kept in water for 1 day (24 hours),
higher proportion of cement exhibit larger Youngs and they soon degraded into a paste like form.
Titzman et al. made papercrete cylinder and
then test for strengths, thermal conductivity, and other
physical properties and these results were compared
with those of conventional building materials. This
research identified acceptable property ranges
necessary for using a structural papercrete facility and
recorded compressive and tensile strengths that were
too weak to build an economical structure. The
identification of a hybrid papercrete-concrete
structure produced results and economics within
acceptable ranges. The papercrete-concrete
alternative was tested on the same basis as the
papercrete for structural and economic analysis, which Figure 1 Soaking of Wastepaper
provided acceptable results. The results indicate that a
papercrete-concrete structure is a viable alternative After that period, the papers were taken out
structurally and economically within a range of sizes from water tank and shredded into little pieces. Using
for the structure.[5] the small flavor machine, the shredded papers were
Ritzawaty binti Mohamad et al. prepared converted into pulp. The generated paper pulp is
Concrete mixes containing various contents of the shown in Figure 2. The paper pulp had residual water
paper and basic strength characteristics such as in itself, and it was not good enough for mixing the
compressive strength, splitting tensile, flexural, and ingredients. So the required amount of water was
water absorption were determined and compared with added at the time of mixing.
a control mix. Four concrete mixes containing of the
waste, which are control mix, 5%, 10%, 15% as an
additional materials to concrete were prepared with
ratios of 1:2:3 by weight of cement, sand, and
aggregate respectively. The maximum size of
aggregate was 20mm..[4]
Issac Akunwani et al. determining the
density, water absorption capacity, compressive
strength and fire resistance of papercrete produced
using waste newspaper and office paper in order to
ascertain their suitability for use as a building
construction material. For each of the mix proportions
considered, the bulk density, water absorption,
compressive strength and fire resistance of papercrete Figure 2 Paper Pulp
made with newspaper were found to be higher than
those made with office paper. The water absorption Casting of Specimen for Papercrete Cubes:
and fire resistance of papercrete were found to be high After paper pulp was generated, first dry
and increased with increasing waste paper content ingredients were taken out on the weight basis and all
while the bulk density and compressive strength of the dry mixes were mixed uniformly (Figure 3). Then,
papercrete were low and decreased with increasing these dry mixes were sprinkled over the required
waste paper content.[3] amount of paper pulp and mixed uniform manually.

3. Materials and Preparation of Papercrete Cube

Materials used in Papercrete
a) Waste Paper
Table 1 Mix Proportion for Papercrete
Grou Mix
Material Proportion
p no.
1 Paper/Cement 1-1
A 2 Paper/ Cement 1-2
3 Paper/Cement 1-3
4 Paper/ Cement/Sand 1-1-5
B 5 Paper/ Cement/Sand 1-1-3
6 Paper/ Cement/Sand 1-1-2

Figure 3 Mixing of Papercrete Ingredient

4. Testing, Result and Discussion
After mixing, the mixes were placed in the mold of 4.1 Experimental Setup of Compressive test
size 10x10x10 cm And the hand compaction was done In this test an increasing uniaxial
for proper compaction of the papercrete. Before compressive load was applied at constant speed,
mixing, the mold was ready for casting the cube uniformly distributed in order to develop the stress vs.
specimen. Machine oil was applied to the inner strain curve and determine the stiffness of the
surfaces of mold for easy removing of mold and material. The following testing procedure was used
without causing any damage to the specimen. for the compression test:[1]
1. Two aluminum plates were used to distribute
uniformly the load given by the machine to
the sample.
2. Failure was defined by deformation criteria
rather than load because the compressive
force magnitude does not drop. The material
is not brittle, and it does not exhibit
descending branch in the stress-strain curve.

Figure 4 Papercrete Mold

Papercrete fibrous mix was poured into the mold by

three layers and fully compacted manually. Casting
was completed after 24 hours, the mold was removed
carefully from the specimen (Figure ). After 28 days
of air drying, the specimens was ready to test.

Figure 5 Papercrete Cubes

Figure 6 Papercrete Cube After Testing
By adopting above steps the Papercrete cubes were
made with different materials, material proportions
are given in Table 1
40 Deformations (or the stress vs. strain graph as the area
35 is same) . The stiffness or elastic modulus of the
30 material (E) is the slope of the Stress vs. Strain graph.
25 A trend line was applied using Microsoft Excel in
20 order to get the right value of the slope of the curve
Load (kN)
(Figure 7). Note that the material is non-linear, and as
a result there is no Elastic (Youngs) Modulus. A
working Youngs Modulus is an approximate value
5 obtained from the stress-strain curves, and which can
0 be used as an index to characterize the compressive
0 20 40 60
behavior up to some stress. In practice, the allowable
Deformation (mm)
compressive stress is expected to be at about this level.
The softer part of the curve (Figure 7), is probably due
Figure 7 Load vs. Deformation Curve to irregularities of the surfaces of the specimens. One
example of Load vs. Deformation graph is given i.e.
4.2 Result and Discussion Figure 7 all other data calculated from respective
a. Compressive Strength graphs. The values of working Young modulus,
The data collected from the compression ultimate strength and deformation are shown in Table
tests were used to develop graph for Load vs. 2.

Table 2 Data Collected From Testing

Weight of sample(gm) Ave. Elastic Elastic Average
Mix Propo Mass
Material Modulus Modulus Strength
no. rtion 1 2 Density 1 2 (MPa)
1 Paper/Cement 1-1 372 495 0.433 1.664 0.267 1.9
2 Paper/ Cement 1-2 613 615 0.614 2.475 0.14 2.34
3 Paper/Cement 1-3 772 814 0.793 3.73 0.176 2.52
4 Paper/ Cement/Sand 1-1-5 1108 1127 1.117 2.24 0.383 3.53
5 Paper/ Cement/Sand 1-1-3 910 918 0.914 1.88 0.344 3.3
6 Paper/ Cement/Sand 1-1-2 770 787 0.778 1.962 0.286 2.5

Specimens with higher proportion of cement

From the first three mixes of above table we exhibit larger Youngs Modulus.
can see that as the cement proportion 3. As pointed out, the stress-strain curves
increased the Young's modulus as well as exhibit a softer segment at the beginning
compressive strength of Papercrete increased (Figure 7). This is probably because of the
and vice versa and when sand is used in the inherent irregularities of the specimens due
papercrete the Young's Modulus decreased. to shrinkage.
4. In each group of concrete mixes containing
b. Weight and Density wastepaper, compressive strength of
From the table 2 we can see that as concrete decreased with the increase of the
the cement and sand content increased the amount of wastepaper.
density of the papercrete increased and as the 5. The low bulk density of papercrete indicates
content of the cement and sand decreased the that they are lightweight and can be used in
density decreased. The cube made from the form of either hollow or solid blocks for
papercrete are much lighter than the normal making walls of buildings, especially, high-
concrete cube. rise buildings. This property also makes
papercrete good for building arches and
5. CONCLUSION domes.
1. During the compression test, the stress-strain 6. Good relationship was observed between
curve is monotonically increasing and the density and strength of concrete mixes
sample starts packing rather than containing wastepaper i.e. as the density
disintegrating. For that reason, deformation increases the strength also increases and
is the criterion for failure. The Stress vs. vice-versa.
Strain graphs suggest that, papercrete is a 7. The results suggested that papercrete if
ductile material that can sustain large properly mixed and applied, can be used as a
deformations (Figure 7). great environment friendly construction
2. Cement plays an important role in the material. Further research in this may shed
compressive strength and behavior.
light on wide applications of papercrete

1) Fuller, Fafitis, and Santamaria J. " Structural
properties of a new material made of waste
paper" Building Integration Solutions (AEI)
2006, pp 1-16.
2) G M Tonks "Dial a House; - The
Construction of Residential Buildings From
Used Telephone Directories " International
Conference on Sustainability Engineering
and Science Conference, 7-9 July 2004,
Auckland New Zealand.
3) Isaac I. Akinwumi, Olasunkanmi M.
Olatunbosun, Oluwarotimi M. Olofinnade,
Paul O. Awoyera " Structural Evaluation Of
Lightweight Concrete Produced Using
Waste Newspaper And Office Paper " Civil
And Environmental Research, ISSN 2224-
5790 (paper) ISSN 2225-0514 (online)
Vol.6, no.7, 2014, pp 160-168
4) Ritzawaty binti mohamad shukeri and a.
Naser abdul ghani " concrete mix with
wastepaper " 2nd international conference on
built environment in developing countries
(ICBEDC 2008), pp 567-575.
5) Titzman L.C., Analysis of Low Cost
Building Material for the Mix Alco Process
Texas A & M University, 2006.
6) Yun H., Jung H., Choi C., Mechanical
Properties of Papercrete Containing Waste
Paper, Architectural Institute of Korea,