Mechanical, Durability, and Microstructure Assessment of Wastepaper Fiber-Reinforced Concrete Containing Metakaolin

Mohammad Valizadeh Kiamahalleh, Aliakbar Gholampour, Mohsen Rezaei Shahmirzadi, Tuan D. Ngo, Togay Ozbakkaloglu

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Abstract

This study evaluates the potential use of discarded plasterboard paper as fibers from buildings to reinforce concrete. Various concentrations of wastepaper fibers (0.5%, 1%, 1.5%, 2%, and 2.5% by weight of the binder) were investigated in this research. To mitigate the water absorption effect of the paper fibers, metakaolin was employed as a partial cement replacement. The results demonstrate that the inclusion of the wastepaper fiber enhances the mechanical and durability performance of the concrete. The optimal fiber proportion was identified as 1%, leading to a 29% increase in the compressive strength, a 38% increase in the splitting tensile strength, a 12% decrease in the water absorption, and a 23% decrease in the drying shrinkage with respect to the concrete containing 20% metakaolin. However, exceeding this optimal fiber content results in decreased mechanical and durability properties due to the fiber agglomeration and non-uniform fiber distribution within the concrete matrix. Based on the microstructural analysis, the improved performance of the concrete is ascribed to decreased porosity, more refined pore structure, and reduced propagation of microcracks within the concrete matrix in the presence of wastepaper fiber. According to the results, concrete containing 20% metakaolin and 1% wastepaper fiber exhibits durability and mechanical properties comparable to those of the traditional concrete. This finding highlights the significant promise of reducing dependency on conventional cement and incorporating suitable recycled materials, such as discarded plasterboard, and secondary by-products like metakaolin. Such a strategy encourages the preservation of resources, reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and a decrease in the ecological footprint resulting from concrete production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2608
Number of pages21
JournalMaterials
Volume17
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2024

Keywords

  • concrete
  • crack propagation
  • metakaolin
  • microstructure
  • plasterboard
  • wastepaper fiber

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