Oil Palm Shell In Concrete Making

Exponential growth of population, development of industry and technology, and the growth of social civilisation can be considered as the underlying factors that have significantly resulted in building demand in rural, estate and urban sectors.

As concrete is used as one of the main building materials, it has inevitably caused serious depletion of non-renewable natural stones used in concrete production.

In Sabah alone, the annual aggregate usage has reached about 12 million tonnes. Thus, it is an important agenda to architects, engineers and researchers to provide a proper building system.

“It must be noted that nearly 80 per cent of the resources used today in construction industry are non-renewable.

“Due to the scarcity of conventional raw materials, there is a great opportunity to explore the alternatives of renewable resource, particularly the oil palm shell (OPS) solid waste from the agricultural sector,” said Universiti Malaysia Sabah Associate Professor Dr Md Abdul Mannan.

He said the country, being the largest palm oil producer in the world produces more than 4 million tonnes of OPS annually, from which about 1.5 million tonnes are generated in Sabah.

Abdul Mannan said in a typical modern building made of reinforced concrete, the conventional concrete floor system consumes the highest concrete volume at up to 44 per cent compared to other structural building components such as beam, column, staircase and foundation.

“The floor is the main usage place in a building. The floor slabs can be made of cast in situ reinforced concrete or precast concrete. Precast floors have several advantages over the cast in situ concrete floors,” he said.

Abdul Mannan said a major challenge for the aggregate and construction industries is finding various alternative aggregate sources to overcome shortages.

“These alternative sources will need to be developed, researched, and successfully applied. It includes industrial waste products, agricultural solid waste and recycled aggregates, particularly from the demolition and building waste,” he said.

“When OPS is used for concrete production, more buildings can be built as alternative for various groups of people. It can be used to replace natural course aggregate in concrete production,” he said.

He said the C-Channel, a precast reinforced concrete product, was made using conventional concrete (normal weight concrete) and lightweight concrete using oil palm shell, the solid waste discharged from palm oil mill.

“It is structurally efficient and is recommended for use in modern buildings,” he said.

Abdul Mannan said C-Channel is environmentally friendly for concrete production and could be considered as a renewable resource for the construction industry. Source: Business Times

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