Ur{rvERsrTr SnlNs MaulvstA
School of Housing, Building and Planning
Name: Degree:

Muhammad Hafiz bin Ahmad Master of Science in Building Technology (Research Mode)

Field of Study: Technology in Material and Construction

Supervisor: Address:

Fiber Lightweight Concrete lnterlocking Block Dr. Hanizam Awang
E4911L5, School of Housing, Building and

Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia 11800,
Pulau Pinang
dokumen ini adalah daripada yang asal

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Pensyarah an,.Bangunan clan pcrancanoan sah6 luataysia

Research Proposal

F iber Lig htweig

ht Concrete I nterlocki ng Block

The scope of this proposal will be on the review of the material used for the purpose of creating a new design of lnterlocking Block for wall system. The research will cover on the effects of several types of fiber (synthetic and natural) on the type and amount of fiber on mechanical properties of foam concrete in a density. lt will also investigate on the durability
properties of fiber foam concrete. The new design of the interlocking block and material used will be explained in detail. 2.0 Research obiective

This experimental investigation is carried out to study the effect of different type and
percentage of fibers on the durability and mechanical properties of the fiber lightweight foam concrete. The best fiber lightweight concrete will be chosen for the new proposed design of interlocking block.
3.0 Literature review

The needs of new technology are essential as it enhance the construction industry system and technology for future generation towards greener and sustainable hi-tech system. The new construction system that is cost saving, environmental friendly and more efficient end product has got a higher demand in the market from time to time as the world is inventing new systems and technologies. The new construction industry offers new technology that involves relatively new dynamic material and system such as the usage of lightweight concrete, new structural panels and various types of interlocking blocks. The lndustrialized building system (1BS) is slowly absorbed by the construction industries with more hitech

lndustrialized building system (lBS) has been practiced in Malaysia since the early sixties. The promising of new systems and technologies that will leads towards better construction industries has been the catalyst for the Government of Malaysia to try the new system in construction industries. Even though the IBS new system is being relatively new that people would be reluctant to apply it, the government is working hard in promotion of IBS to ensure the use of IBS widely in Malaysia. IBS has been promising the new system that is cost saving, fast track construction, environmental friendly, usage of low skilled labor towards the construction and of course the production of the best end product. New systems and technologies are invented as time goes by to enhance the old system. Hence, a new system of interlocking block that will turn down the use of conventional masonry block has been created and developed for its best. Disahkan

bahawa dokumen ini adalah

:T."LTlg?argaiadl Apart of working on green and environmental friendly technologies, many lightweight block had been designed and among them are by use of
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and aerated concrete. Lightweight foamed concrete is one of the aerated concrete to
produce a lightweight block. Lightweight foamed (or cellular) concrete is normally made from mixing stable foam to slurry of mortar. This action incorporates small-enclosed air bubbles within the mortar thereby making it lighter and possessing special properties such as low thermal conductivity and high fire resistance. Gas-form chemicals are mixed into cement mortar during the plastic stage, resulting to the increasing of volume and when the gas escapes, leaving a porous structure that form aggregates (Narayanan and Ramamurthy, 2000). Foamed concrete may have densities ranging from as low as 500kg/m3 to as high as 1600kg/m3. lt therefore has a wide range of applications such as material for wall blocks or panels, floor & roof screeds, trench reinstatement, road foundations and also void filling. lt has been highlighted by many researches that the specialties of lightweight concrete, in comparison to the normal concrete is its low density and thermal conductivity.

Nowadays, quite a large number of researches have been conducted to enhance the effectiveness of lightweight concrete for building material. As for example, fiber lightweight concrete is one of the approaches that have been increasing in recent years. Knowledge of fiber use in cement composite, mechanisms of mechanical behavior and insulating behavior has increased substantially. Many research papers indicated various advantages of fiber in cement composites (Raju ef. al, 1977) also found that the cube compressive strength of concrete increased linearly with the addition of fibers. Normal concrete reinforced with less than 2o/o of volume content of steel fibres provides better properties compared to normal concrete, especially the improvement of toughness (Chen and Liu, 2005). lt was also reported by Sanjuan and Moragues (1997) that shrinkage and differential settlement can be inhibited or prevented effectively by using fiber reinforcement. Similarly applied to foamed concrete it is hoped that the fiber would contribute to the load carrying capacity of the material by shear deformation at the fiber - matrix interface thereby contributing to increased

There are two known possible source of fibers which are from synthetics and natural resources. Both have its advantages in the matrix proportioning of cement composites.
Synthetic fibers are man-made fibers from researches and developments of textile industries. It was first reported to be a component of construction materials in 1965. The types of fibers that have been tried in Portland cement concrete based are: acrylic, aramid, carbon, nylon, polyester, polyethylene and polypropylene. Thus, the use of synthetic fiber reinforced concrete is cunently exists worldwide due to its promising feature of optimizing durability and mechanical properties of the concrete. Moreover, it is proven that synthetic fibers helped to improve the post peak ductility performance, pre-crack tensile strength, and impact strength and eliminate temperature and shrinkage cracks (Brown et. al,2OOZ).

In comparison of synthetic fibers, natural fibers are believed to be more environmental friendly. That is why they are cunently getting a lot of attention for replacing synthetic fibers (Thielemants and Wool, 2004).lt has been stated that natural fibers have many advantages such as they have low density, recyclable and biodegradable compared to the synthetic fibers (Hatta and Akmar, 2008). Even if compressive and tensile strength of natural fibers concretes are slightly lower than the control concrete mix, their deformation behavior shows improvement in ductility and reduced shrinkage (Ramaswamy et. al 1 983). Disatrtan bahawa dokumen inj ada,ah . sarinansgDgna,.darip;oivjis-llij,'

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Besides that, natural fiber exhibit many advantages properties and offer significant reduction on the cost and benefit associated with processing compared to synthetic fiber (Toledo et al., 2003; Asasutjarit et al., 2007). Some investigations have been carried out on the properties of concrete using natural fibers from coconut coir, sugar cane, bamboo, jute, elephant grass, akwata and sisal. These investigations have shown encouraging results. Each fiber used will have different results of properties as shown in the Table 1.

Table 1: Comparison of fiber types and properties

Cornparison of Fiber Types and Propertles
Fiber Type
Steel High Tensile Dianreter. .001 in.


E. ksi x1000


Slrength" ksi

Strain at Failure. t$


?o t.9


50-250 300 360-500



7 10.44-1 1.fi

Folymeric Polypropyiene Polyethylene Polyester






80-1 10

v 3-80


29-435 80-170 5?5 29-500 260-390



9.17 ')t o /'ro { Z.LT.LFI.U.EI

,4-,47 ,0008-1.2







\iiood cellulose
$isal Coir (Coaonull

o,t? og

1,5 1.12-1,15

1.4S-5,8 1,89-3.77


17-29 51-73
36-51 ?6


2-16 4-8
40.1 00


1 02-1,04

3.7-4,64 076.46C

Akwata Elephant Grass

FC A. 1991i


lisahkan ba bahawa dokumen ini adalah


Source: Ben Davis & Kurtis, (2007)

Pusat Penqajian

Study on the effect of compressive strength of normal concrete has been done by Ramaswamy et. al(1983). They stated that vegetable fiber concretes exhibited substantially lower shrinkage compared to plain concrete mixes, while in the view of mechanical properties, vegetable fibers had been proven to have no effecl of increasing the value. The
mechanical properties are mostly remains the same or slightly decrease compared to normal concrete mix. Coir Fiber has almost the same compressive strength with the control mix

compared to Bamboo and Jute Fibers which the compressive strength are slightly lower than the control mix. Figure 1 shows the cube compressive strength of three fibers which are Jute, Coir and Bamboo with Plain concrete mix as the reference increasing by age in weeks.

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Figure 1. Cube compressive strength (kg/cm2)/Age in weeks Source: Ramaswamy et al(1983) lnterlocking block concept has been used in various types since the sixties. Apart of that, many have come with new designs that will overcome the existing designated block problems. However, the overall behavior and characteristics of the system is still not very well understood. ln the side of cost savings, it has beaten the conventional masonry systems using mortar as it has the ability to stick against each other without using mortars. This saves a considerable amount of cements usage as the adhesive material for masonry construction as the base course will still need cements course to stick the blocks up with the base. As for the other advantages such as self-alignment, it has been helpful in terms of time saving and hence, leads to the cost saving during the construction process. The installation of this interlocking block is also needs no high-skilled labor to construct and no high-skilled cement masonry labor needed during the construction process (needs only for the base course cement adhesive). Figure 2 shows the current design in market that have been commercialized and used in the construction field,

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Figure 2: Existing design of lnterlocking block systems for wall structure

The concept of interlocking block is a mortar less masonry system which has the capability of self-aligning in all directions (depends on the design). lnterlocking block systems have come with many types of design to overcome the disadvantages of the old interlocking block design. The focus of the designated interlock is to get the most efficient effect on alignment without the needs of high-skilled masons. The interlocking system works in a way to enhance the effectiveness of the masonry with self alignment and the elimination of mortar layers. Two experimental test set-ups are proposed to evaluate the contact behavior of dry joints, considering the geometric imperfections in the contacting faces. The results show that the contact behavior of a dry joint is highly affected by geometric imperfections in the block bed (Jaafar et. al20QG). More tests have shown that both single and multiple joints of interlocking resulted in irregularity and roughness problems that lead to the contact behavior problems. More problems occurred on multiple-joints in the test compared to single-joint. Various design of blocks for wall such as the CSR Autoclaved Aerated Concrete Block (CSR AAC Block) and Lightweight Ready Block has been used widely in the construction field. However, these blocks are not an interlocking block but still in the use of the lightweight concrete. Table 2 shows the mechanical properties of the CSR AAC Block and Figure 3 shows the dimension and the design of the block. The compressive strength of the CSR AAC Block with the working density range of 650 to 910 kg/m3 is 3 to 5 Mpa, (CSR AAC Malaysia Copyright, 2010-2011). This will be the control range of compressive strength for the new proposed design interlocking block.
Table 2: CSR Block properties of density range 650 to 910kg/m3

Length x I'leight
Thickness Compressive Strength



100 - 200mrn

Ultirnate Tensile Strength
\#orking Density

0.44 - 0.55 MPa

Disahkan bahawa dokumen ini aclalah daripada yang asal

ns Malalaia
Bangninan dan perahcar oan

Figure 3: The dimemion and deslqn of the CSR AAC Btock

source: Copy ght CSR


Malays a @


com my (2010'201 1)

Many pEdlclions oi co.crete blocks. eirher nomal or lightweight 6nc€te had been desig.ed and prcdLed However. noi much stldy has bee. conducted to produce the nier ocking block system lslnq lighlweight @ncele w h the best and eifective des gn This pbbem has @me into accolnt and ihe soution is io @me up with a singte-joint nt€rocking with lhe abilty oJ interlocking ln vanous degrees aithout the needs of castino halfblocks tor a 90 degroe wll conslruction. A new design witt be proposed lsing the lighMeighl @ncr€le fiih libe. in this rcseaEh to overcome the pmbtem o@uF in previous design lo e.hane the usage ol the inbnocking block The new prcpo*d design witl be explained nore in delail in the melhodology seci on

the eadier publications, iew researches on perJofran@ oi inie.ockins btock svsien bv lsng concete have been conducled snd reponed. Horever, iherc have been no speciiic slLdies lhal have been locusino on lhe behavior of shrink.ge ot tghMeight ntedocking block -lhe prcpedies ot ihe lightweight concrete in ditrercnl tibe6 and epta@ments ls€d willb€ studied with vaious fibe6 a€ taken into amount which wit be the best end omdlcr


The cha.aclerislie ol loam .onc€r€ which consisls of entrained @ment pasle and high amou.l ol vo d @nlenls @uld end up with various types of lai uFs. Not only the strength lhal wil be affected but also the way the haledal fails. Lack of aggregates and etativety high emenl.ontenl rcsulled in hiah shnnkage and the delomaiion of end pbduct. However, the use of vaaous tp€s of nbe6 has been prove. to r€d!€ the shnnkage behavior But it is noliced that lhe€ have been lack oi rcsearch erned oul to 3h@ the etfectteness ol libeE
on bolh protein and synlhetic loams towards rhe mechani@l prcpentes and duBbitity ot the iightweiqht @nc€le. Ihese propenl€s are essental for ihe end pmdud elperiatty for the

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will be focused on the shrinkage behavior and both mechanical properties and durability of the lightweight concrete with the best fibers chosen for the mix.
4.0 Obiectives of the research

The main objective of the research is to investigate the effects of fibers (synthetic and
naturat) on the type and amount of fiber affecting the shrinkage behavior of foam concrete of different replacements for interlocking blocks and both mechanical properties and durability of the lightweight concrete are still taken into account. To be specific, the main objectives are:

1. To investigate the effect

of fibers on the physical and mechanical properties of fiber

foamed concrete. 2. To investigate the contribution of fibers as additive in lightweight concrete towards durability. 3. To identify the most suitable type and percentage of fiber that can contribute to optimum result. 4. To come up with a new proposed design of interlocking block to enhance the usage of interlocking block as the building material.
5.0 The importance and the benefits of the research

The advantage of using interlocking block system is it requires no cement paste for adhesive purpose. This has saves up big amount of cement used for construction that leads to greener and sustainable product. The interlocking blocks are also self-aligned which will save the construction time hence, saves construction cost. There is no need of high-skilled masons during construction process (only for the base course). With the flexibility production of interlocking block that can be produced in a small or large scale, the production can be controlled for prevention waste product. Type of building or structure that are suitable for the interlocking block systems:


2. 3. 4.

Commercial types of building for wall of single or double storey buildings for exterior or interior wall. Disahkan sarinan High rise building for wall system exterior or interior bearing Basement foundation or load bearing wall. Suitable for a fast track construction maybe for catastrophe victims.


6.0 Research illethodoloov

The methodology to be used in this research will be by examination and analysis, material sampling and physical testing to determine the specific properties for material i.e normal foamed concrete and foamed concrete with both synthetic and natural fiber. All the infill materials to be used are produced locally.

ln order to maximize the effectiveness of the interlocking block system, fibers of both synthetic and natural wlll be used as additive in the mixing of the lightweight foam concrete. Various types of fibers (natural and synthetic) will be examined in this research that would be the Bamboo fiber, Sugarcane fiber, Jute fiber, Polypropylene fiber and the Glass fiber to

determine its advantages towards mechanical properties and durability especially. Three types of percentage of fibers will be used as additive for each fiber in a mix.
The properties of fiber reinforced concrete are affected by a large number of factors such as the type, geometry, form, surface of the fibers and more. One of the major factor is stated to be the mix proportioning. lt is very important to determine the best fiber content as additive in the lightweight concrete mix in order to get the best result. Three percentages of fiber additives have been determined and divided to three stages which are the low, medium and highest percentage.

Low percentage of fibers for additive (around 0.1Vo) has been proven effective towards durability as low volumetric fractions (VF) of short fibers has been described as the best measure for controlling concrete cracking (Barluenga and Hernandez-Olivarez, 2OA7). At medium percentage (around 0.25Yo) is tested to determine effects of fiber additive in average between the least and optimum percentage. ln addition, the percentage of fiber that shown optimum result in fiber additive would be around 0.5% according to (Ramaswamy et. al, 1983) as they optimize the result in physical and mechanical properties of concrete.

As for density, 1000kg/m3 is chosen as the density of the lightweight concrete which is
necessarily capable of filling the requirement in compressive strength in construction field for concrete block of wall structure. The range of compressive strength of concrete blocks for commercial purpose varies almost between 3 10 N/mm2 that the densities too vary between 650 - 1400 kg/m3 (ln variation of lightweight concrete blocks densities).


As for the new proposed design of interlocking block, it has been analyzed to overcome the previous current design available in the market. Figure 4 illustrates clearly the design and dimension of the new proposed design of interlocking block.

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Bangunan dan Perancan_an MalaysiB


Figure4 Pop66d


design lntedocking block ior

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7.0 Prosram of Work

There are several stages of this research to achieve the above objectives:

Staqe 1: Literature review
Study on various types of possible materials and ways to overcome current issues on durability and mechanical properties. Stage 2: Laboratorv works

2. 3.


5. 6. 7.

Obtaining 5 materials of fibers. lmmersion of fibers in alkaline medium. Mixing materials i.e, normal foamed concrete and foamed concrete with natural and synthetic fiber. Testing of samples on mechanical properties: compressive test, flexural test. For durability: shrinkage test, water absorption test and thermal test. Mix design parameters using computer spreadsheets and trial mixes, placing methods in foam concrete floor by gravity; in-situ test for semi dry foam concrete. Casting interlocking block Testing the system on thermal and structural

Staqe 3: Data Analvsis and Write-up
Tabling of results & analysis (Table 3 shows detail on design mix that will be use as material for casting interlocking block).

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Normal Foamed concrete


Mix {

Mix 2

Foamed concrete with bamboo fiber as additive



Mix 3

Foamed concrete with bamboo fiber as additive





Foamed concrete with bamboo fiber as additive



Mix 5

Foamed concrete with sugarcane fiber as additive
Foamed concrete with sugarcane fiber as additive Foamed concrete with sugarcane fiber as additive Foamed concrete with jute fiber as additive



Mix 6



Mix 7







Mix 9 Mix 10

Foamed concrete with jute fiber as additive



Foamed concrete with jute fiber as additive





Foamed concrete with glass fiber as additive



Mix 12

Foamed concrete with glass fiber as additive



Mix 13 Mix {4

Foamed concrete with glass fiber as additive



Foamed concrete with polypropylene fiber as additive Foamed concrete with polypropylene fiber as additive Foamed concrete with polypropylene fiber as additive



Mix 15


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9.0 Gonclusion

As the conclusion of the studies, it is hoped that the best fiber foam concrete for the end product can be produced towards greener and sustainable product of building material and the new design of interlocking system using lightweight concrete will be certified and used for construction industries in Malaysia.



1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

11. 12.



Barfuenga, G., Hernandez-Olivares, F. (2007). Cement and Concrete Research, 37 :1624-1638. Beaudoin J.J (1982), CBD-223. Fiber-Reinforced Concrete, Canadian Building Digest 1. Ben Davis and Dr. Kurtis (2007\. CEE-8813, Natural Fiber Reinforced Concrete. Brown, R., Shukla, A. and Natarajan, K.R., (2002), Fiber Reinforcement of Concrete Structures. URITC PROJECT NO. 536101. Jaafar, M.S., Alwathaf, A.H, Thanoon, W.A, Noorzaei, J., AbdulKadir, M.R. (2006). Behaviour of lnterlocking Mortarless Block Masonry. Narayanan, N. And Ramamurthy, K (2000). Structure and properties of aerated concrete: a review, Cement and Concrete Composites, 22:321-329. Nasrul Hatta, NairulAkmar (2008). Mechanical Properties of P o ly stre ne/P o ly p ro py I e n e Re i nfo rced Coco n ut a n d J ute F i b e rs. Ramamurthy, K., Kunhanandan Nambiar, E. K., & lndu Siva Ranjani, G. (2009). A classification of sfudies on properties of foam concrete. Cement and Concrete Composite. 31(6) : 388-396. Ramaswamy, H.S, Ahuja, B.M and Krishnamoorthy, S. (1983). Behaviour of Concrete Reinforced With Jute, Coir and Bamboo Fibres. Romildo Dias Toledo Filho, Kuruvilla Joseph, Khosrow Ghavami and George Leslie England (1999). The Use of Sisa/ Fibers As Reinforcement ln Cement Based Composites. Raju,N.K., Basavarajaiah, B.S. and Rao, K.J. (1977). lndian Concr. J. 51(6) : 183. Chen, B. and Liu, J. (2005). Contibution of hybrid fibers on the properties of the high-strength lightweight concrete having good wo*ability, Cement and Concrete Research, 35: 913 - 917. Sanju6n, M.A and Moragues, A (1997) , Polypropylene-fibre-reinforced mortar mxes; optimization to control plastic shrinkage, Composites Sciene,e and Technology, ST : lssue 6, 655-660. Thielemants, W. And Wool, R.P., (20041. Butyrated Kraft lignin as compatibilizing agent for natural fiber reinforced thermoset composites. Compos. Part A: Applied Sci. Manuf. 35 : 327-338. DOI: 10.1016/j.compositesa.2003.09.01 1.
Disahkan bahawa dokumen ini adalah