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Papercrete is a new composite material using waste paper as a partial replacement of

Portland cement. Papercrete is a recently developed construction material which consists of
repulped paper fiber with Portland cement. Papercrete is a construction material which
consists of cement and fine aggregate. It is perceived as an environmental friendly material
due to the significant recycled content, by the presence of cement. It is a construction
material which consists of paper slurry, white lime and Portland cement. This increase in the
popularity of using environmental friendly, low-cost and light weight construction materials
in building industry has brought about the need to investigate how this can be achieved by
benefiting the environment as well as maintaining the material requirements affirmed in the
standards .As natural sources of aggregates are becoming exhausted, it turns out urgent to
develop. The majority of abandoned paper waste is accumulated from the countries all over
the world causes certain serious environmental problems. It is an important building material
that is light weight, insulate and low cost concrete. It is cost-effective, relies on locally
available materials, but it is insect free, fire resistant, durable and great potential as a low
carbon building material. Papercrete, known by alternative names such as fibrous concrete,
padobe and fidobe, low carbon construction material, 45% of discarded papers is recycled
annually; 55%thrown away or goes in to the land fill.
 Therefore efforts have been made to utilize the waste paper in to concrete and form a
Paper Crete.
 Papercrete is mould resistant and has the ability to absorb energy and can be used in
many applications requiring sound-proofing material.
 Also, Papercrete blocks won’t deteriorate if left out in the rain, since the paper fibers
bind the blocks together.
 The strength of Papercrete as engineering materials appears to lie in their ability to
absorb energy and can be used in many applications requiring sound absorption and
fire resistance.
 Papercrete is an amazing, simple material gaining acceptance over the last decade by
alternative builders, and even code officials across the US.
 It's almost free to build with and there are many versions, and some do not include
the cement, creating a "paper adobe" safe to handle with bare hands.
 This material is easy to sculpt with, make blocks, use as a mortar, a plaster for walls,
as floors, as wall insulation, as roofing insulation, for arches, privacy walls, and
garden walls, patio floors, used for animal shelters, for dog houses, and children’s
playhouses too.
 Start with a small sculpting project, or insulate your pet's outdoor shelter, maybe
insulated the garage walls.
 Papercrete can be stunning or a horrible mess and it all depends on the detail and
attention you pay.
 When used as insulation no one will see it. As adobe blocks they can look like
stacked stone, or if crooked and ill-placed, a plaster coat can make the wall as smooth
as you want. Your creativity is unlimited.

 All over the world, bricks are the most widely used construction materials for the
construction of buildings.
 The bricks are obtained by moulding clay in blocks of uniform size and then by drying
and burning the blocks.
 As the bricks are of uniform size, they can be properly arranged.
 The common brick is one of the oldest building materials and it is extensively used at
present as a leading material in construction.
 In India, the process of brick making has not changed since many centuries except in
some minor refinements.
 There has been hardly any effort in our country to improve the brick-making process
for enhancing the quality of bricks.
 Also the structures in view of their compressive strength, structural stability and
relative low cost have not undergone any drastic change.
 But it has two major drawbacks, namely selfweight and brittleness.


Papercrete is a material originally developed 80 years ago but it is only recently
rediscovered. Papercrete is a fibrous cementious compound comprising waste paper and
Portland cement. These two components are blended with water to create a paper cement
pulp, which can then be poured into a mould, allowed to dry and be utilized as a durable
building material. It should be noted that Paper Crete is a relatively new concept with
limited scope. Papercrete has three derivatives, namely fibrous concrete, padobe and
fidobe. The fibrous concrete is a mixture of paper, Portland cement and water.There are
no harmful by-products or excessive energy use in the production of papercrete. Padobe
has no Portland cement. It is a mix of paper, water and earth with clay. Here clay is the
binding material Instead of using the cement, earth is used in this type of brick. This earth
should have clay content of more than 30%.With regular brick, if the clay content is too
high the brick may crack while drying, but adding paper fiber to the earth mix strengthens
the drying block. It gives flexibility which helps to prevent cracking. Fidobe is like
padobe, but it may contain other fibrous material.

The constituents used in preparing the papercrete mixtures and their properties. To attain
these goals, materials were collected from various sources. Material collection is the basic
and important step in any project. Yet, the material that is used in a project should not
cause any damage to the environment.
The various materials include:

Ordinary Portland Cement (53 GRADE)

 The Portland cement was invented by John Aspidin which is fine gray powder.
 Among the various kinds cement it is the most commonly used as binding material. It is a
mixture of chalk or limestone together with clay.
 Cement is a binder, a substance used in construction that sets, hardens and adheres to other
materials, binding them together.
 Cement is seldom used solely, but is used to bind sand and gravel (aggregate) together.
 Cement is used with fine aggregate to produce mortar for masonry, or with sand and gravel
aggregates to produce concrete.
 In India are manufactured the three grades of OPC, namely 33grade, 43 grade and 53
grade. As per the standard testing procedure, the compressive strength of cement will be
obtained after 28days.

Fig 1 : Cement flyash

 Fly ash, is also known as fuel-ash, is one of the residues generated in combustion, and
comprises the fine particles that rise with the flue gases.
 In an industrial context, fly ash usually refers to ash produced during combustion of
coal. Fly ash is generally captured by electrostatic precipitators or other particle
filtration equipment before the flue gases reach the chimneys of coal-fired power
plants, and together with bottom ash removed from the bottom of the furnace is in this
case jointly known as coal ash.
 Depending upon the source and process of the coal being burned, the components of
fly ash vary considerably, but all fly ash
includes substantial amounts of silicon dioxide (SiO2) and calcium oxide (CaO), both
being endemic ingredients in many coal-bearing rock strata.
 Fly ash often replaces up to 30% by mass of Portland cement, but can be used in
higher dosages in certain applications.
 In some cases, fly ash can add to the concrete's final strength andincrease its
chemical resistance and durability.
 Cement production requires huge amounts of energy and Partial replacement of
cement with fly ash is economical. In the case of
mass concreting and large scale works, it is proved to be most economical.
 It is practically revealed that up to 40 to 50% cement replaced and the designed
strengths are achieved.

Fig 2 : Flyash fine Aggregate

Fine Aggregate
Concrete produced from a mixture of fine aggregate (sand), a binder (cement), and water.
Fine aggregate concrete is similar to building mortars in its composition and certain
properties. The sand particle consists of small grains of silica (SiO2). It is formed by the
decomposition of sand stones due to various effects of weather According to the natural
resources from which the sand is obtained. The absence of coarse aggregate (crushed stone or
gravel) substantially facilitates the preparation, transport, and placing of the concrete,
particularly when concrete pumps are used. A disadvantage of fine-aggregate concrete is the
increased consumption of binder compared to other types of concrete and the associated
greater shrinkage and creep.
The quantity of binder in the concrete can be reduced by pulverizing some of the sand, by the
use of plasticizers, or by autoclaving of products.
The sand which was locally available and passing through
4.75mm IS sieve is used. The specific gravity of Fine aggregate was 2.60.
 The sand particle consists of small grains of silica (SiO2).
 It is formed by the decomposition of sand stones due to various effects of weather.
 According to the natural resources from which the sand is obtained, it is termed as
Pit sand, River sand and Sea sand.
 According to the size of grains, the sand is classified as fine, coarse and gravel.

Fig 3 : Fine Aggregate

Coarse Aggregate
 Locally available crushed blue granite stones conforming to graded aggregate of nominal
size 12.5 mm as per IS: 383 –1970.
 Crushed granite aggregate with specific gravity of 2.77 and passing through 4.75 mm
sieve and will be used for casting all specimens.
 Several investigations concluded that maximum size of coarse aggregate should be
restricted in strength of the composite.
 In addition to cement paste – aggregate ratio, aggregate type has a great influence on
concrete dimensional stability.

Fig 4: Coarse Aggregate

Paper is a natural polymer which consists of wood cellulose, which is the most abundant
organic compound in the planet.Cellulose is made of units of monomer glucose
(polysaccharide).The links in the cellulose chain are a type of sugar as ß-D-glucose.
Despite containing several hydroxyl groups, cellulose is water insoluble.
The reason is the stiffness of the chains and hydrogen bonding between two OH groups on
adjacent chains.
The chains pack regularly in places to form hard, stable crystalline regions that give the
bundled chains even more stability and strength. This hydrogen bonding is the basis of
papercrete strength.
By applying a force on the paper the hydrogen bond between the water and the cellulose
molecule is broken. Coating cellulose fibers with Portland cement creates a cement matrix,
which encases the fibers for extra strength to the mix. The links in the cellulose chain are a
type of sugar: ß-D-glucose and the cellulose chain bristles with polar -OH groups.
These groups form many hydrogen bonds with OH groups on adjacent chains, bundling the
chains together. Viewed under a microscope, it is possible to see a network of cellulose fibers
and smaller offshoots from the fibers called fibril which becomes coated with Portland
cement. When these networks or matrices of fibers and fibrils dry, they intertwine
and cling together with the power of the hydrogen bond.

Fig 5: Paper

Water is an important ingredient of papercrete as it actively participates in the chemical
reaction with cement. Water should be free from organic matter and
the pH value should be between 6 and 7.
1. Dry the flask carefully and fill with kerosene or naphthalene point on the stem
between 0
to 1ml.
2. Record the level of the liquid in the flask as initial reading.
3. Put a weighted quantity of cement(about60gm) in to the flask so that level of
kerosene rise to about 22ml mark, care being taken to avoid splashing and to see that
cement does not
adhere to the sides of the above the liquid.
4. After putting all the cement in the flask, roll the flask gently in an inclined position
to expel air until no further air bubbler is set to the surface of the liquid.

Fig 6: Water


The properties of papercrete are as given below:

Compressive Strength
Compressive strength tests on 15 cm x 15 cm x 15 cm papercrete cubes revealed an
average compressive strength of 0.57 N/mm2 after 3 days of cube preparation. Other
research also suggests similar results. [1, 5]. For more strength, higher grade of
cement can be used.
Weight and Density
Density of the material increased with increase in the percentage of cement in the
mixture and reduced with increase in the amount of the paper in the mixture. Average
weight of 8 cubes casted was observed to be 3.624 kg, thus block density was about
1.07 gm /cc.
This is therefore lightweight in comparison to standard concrete or brick masonry
Shrinkage measured was between 8-9% in each block.
Water absorption
Water absorption of the blocks was about 30% in all cases.
Drying time
40 hours at least are needed for drying of papercrete before it can be demolded. After
this it should be sundried for 4 days before usage for better strength. Or it can be
placed in oven at nearly 70 °C for 40 hours after casting. Putting it at higher
temperature than this can result into segregation of material.
Tests for other properties such as 7 day and 28 day compressive strength, thermal
resistance, sound insulation, behavior under fire etc. are under progress.


Sirajul Muneer. M et al, (2016) [1] studied by replacing natural resources by

industrial waste for sustainable construction and for economic reasons. The industrial
waste are difficult to dispose and the disposal of these materials are costly. Hence,
these industrial wastes were used in construction materials. This project reports on
experimental investigation of wall panels and slab panels constructed by Ferro-cement
techniques using industrial waste like copper slag, fly ash and gypsum.
Phosphogypsum and sludge were used as partial replacement for cement. Specific
gravity is higher for copper slag compared to sand. As the content of copper slag
increases density of cement mortar increases. Water absorption of copper slag is less
compared to sand. Hence, the water requirement for mixing is less than the
conventional cement mortar. The overall results demonstrated good performance of
ferrocement panels which can be true construction merits in both developed and
developing countries. Therefore, further research work can make it much better.

Clauidu aciu et al, (2014) [2] have reported a study on the recycling of paper
waste, which is frequently found in almost all activities. In order to obtain an
ecological plastering mortar, paper materials were used in four mortar recipes, as well
as the methods of preparation were presented. Paper can be recycled only 6-10 times
because with each recycling the length of the cellulose fiber was reduced. One ton of
recycled paper is equivalent to saving 17 trees. This was adopted for newspaper and
copy paper. This four mix proportions were tested for density, compression, bending,
water absorption, and adhesion behavior. Optimal proportion of the mortar recipe was
around 40%. The developed technology ensures the manufacture of a new ecological
plastering mortar with minimal embodied energy and with good thermal insulation
properties. Comparing to normal mortar the density was between 842-1147 kg and
m3.Then it is a very good fire resistance and sound absorption material.

Randhir J. Phalke et al, (2014) [3] have reported the effect of using different
numbers of wire mesh layers on the flexural strength of flat ferrocement panels and to
compare the effect by varying the number of wire mesh layers and use of steel fibers
on the ultimate strength and ductility of ferrocement slab panels. The number of
layers used are two, three and four. Slab panels of size (550 x 200) with thickness 25
mm are reinforced with welded square mesh with varying no of layers of mesh.
Panels were casted with mortar of mix proportion (1:1.75) and water cement ratio
(0.38) including super plasticizer (Perma PC-202) with dosage of 1% of total weight
of cement. Some panels were casted with steel fibers (0.5%) of total volume of
composite and aspect ratio (l/d) =57. Panels were tested under two point loading
system in UTM machine after curing period of 28 days. Based on experimental test
results the following conclusions were made. The flexural loads at first crack and
ultimate loads depend on number of reinforcing mesh layers used in ferrocement
panel. Increasing the number of layers of wire mesh from 2 to 4 layers significantly
increases the ductility and capability to absorb energy of the panels. Presence of steel

fibers also increases the flexural strength of panels as compared to those without

Masood et al, (2003) [4] investigated the performance of ferrocement panels in

different environments. The study investigated the performance of ferrocement panels
under normal, moderate, and hostile environments. The conditions were created using
portable saline water for mixing and curing. Fly ash, a waste material, was also used
as partial replacement of cement. The ferrocement slab panels cast with varying
number of woven and hexagonal mesh layers were tested under flexure. Compressive
and tensile strength of control specimens and load-carrying capacity of the panels
under flexure with and without fly ash were investigated. Result showed that addition
of fly ash in different environments affects the flexural strength of both woven and
hexagonal wire fabric panels.

A total of 9 cubes of size (70 x 70) of above proportion were casted. Compressive
strength obtained to be best proportion evaluating the flexural test and compression
test specimen will be prepared. Mortar was prepared by calculating the exact amount
of cement, sand, papercrete and water. At first the cement and sand were mixed dry
with additionally added in paper pulp, fly ash and silica fume. In admixture of CERA
water proofing and water will be mixed in consider ratio. The wood mould prepared
were properly oiled before casting .At bottom a layer of mortar was applied of
thickness 20 mm followed by layer of geo grid and again followed by layer of mortar.
The mesh pieces were cut down according to the size of panel leaving a cover of 3
mm on both side of mesh. After casting of panels they were removed from mould
after a period of 24 hours. After removal the panels were dried in direct sunlight in
open surface for a period of 28 days. The panels were removed from the drying after a
period of 28 days. White wash was applied to the panels to get clear indication of the
cracks due to loads.

Fig 7: Paper pulp preparation

Fig 8 : Papercrete mix

Papercrete can be produced by harnessing solar energy. The only power needed is for
the purpose of mixing. Papercrete is far lighter in weight and has remarkable insulating
qualities, unlike concrete which is relatively heavy. It can be easily shaped when cured and
dried. The most important benefit of papercrete is the reduction of cement in the mix. Carbon
footprint during production, the total cost and weight are reduced, resulting in an eco-friendly
and lightweight material. Paper fibers result in excellent heat and sound insulating properties.
Papercrete incentivizes the recycling of waste paper, especially in communities with no
recycling services. Papercrete is viable option for low cost housing and temporary shelters
and offices. Crises of building materials lead to high demand and need for recycling
industrial waste or finding alternative source. Wastepaper helps in low- cost, eco-friendly and
therefore, sustainable design. In India’s context only a fraction of paper is recycled annually.
This means that the rest is still disposed off, mostly ending up in landfills for slow
degradation and capacity consumption of dumpsites. Conservatively speaking, it takes about
15 trees to make 1 ton of paper. As it is recycled material, there is a benefit in embodied
energy due to reutilization. It has good thermal and sound insulation properties.
The material has certain limitations in its application. Apart from the fact that the material is
still to be recognized and researched, there are also major obvious shortfalls in the materials
mechanical and chemical properties. Lack of literature, official data or guidelines on its
preparation, structural behavior or long term viability is one of the constraints for commercial
usage of the material. Papercrete is a brittle material. It expands and contracts frequently
leading to cracks, bulging and buckling and it has very low tensile strength. It is difficult to
exercise quality control of the mix batches and obtain smooth surface. There is also a major
issues of dimensional stability. Also, it is not waterproof and flameproof and this is not
desirable for building applications. The production of papercrete units uses a large quantum
of water. Durability is another major issue owing to the tendency of paper to degrage due to
thermal, biological and chemical action.
Certain limitations in the properties can be overcome by below measures:
1. Modification of mix proportions can help achieve optimum properties.
2. Addition of reinforcement like coconut fiber (5%-10%) or fly ash can be done to improve
compressive strength of papercrete.
3. Colour and texture can be added to papercrete for better aesthetics and design versatility.
4. Addition of silicon, concrete sealer or epoxy compound can help in waterproofing of
5. Admixtures can also be added to improve setting and bonding properties.
6. Higher strength can be obtained by using higher grade of cement.
7. Papercrete made with certain mixes are resistant to fire, fungi, and pests to a larger extent.
8. Papercrete blocks made with a sufficient quantity of Portland cement and sand have
improved fire resistance.

This study was conducted with an aim to learn the small scale preparation of papercrete
blocks, its design and construction skills and also had a focus on the assessment of the
properties of this building blocks. The study recognized papercrete as a sustainable building
material and emphasized on more research towards its performance parameters. The
manufacturing, processing and construction techniques are still not developed enough to
facilitate its use and this requires extensive amount of research. Papercrete can be developed
as a material which is suitable for low cost housing and temporary shelters and offices and
can help reduce carbon footprint. It is thus evident that it can be looked upon as a sustainable
building material and has a promising future.