Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Salvage (Waste, etc.); Cement--Additives; Concrete blocks;


As the population of the planet Earth increases, the need for affordable housing becomes a paramount issue in construction. This need is further complicated by the rising cost of basic building materials due to the depletion of natural resources throughout the world. These problems have caused the construction industry to refocus its attention on the elimination of waste through a comprehensive strategy to: (a) reclaim and recycle these resources into usable materials, and (b) develop products and markets in construction for recycled materials through research and testing to prove their integrity.

The purpose of this study is to determine the performance characteristics of using solid waste materials (i.e., fiberglass, fly ash, and spent foundry sand) as substitute materials in the matrix and reinforcement of the standard Faswall wood/concrete block. Specifically, it focuses on the use of waste fiberglass (as a substitute reinforcement for mineralized wood chips), fly ash and spent foundry sand (as substitutes for the Portland cement matrix) to improve performance and further reduce the cost of the blocks.

The amount of fiberglass is increased in groups of 5% while decreasing mineralized wood chips respectively to a maximum substitution of 20%. Proportions of fly ash and spent foundry sand are varied by 1% while decreasing the amount of Portland cement respectively to a maximum substitution of 5%. To determine the optimum proportion of materials, 44 categories including control samples are produced, cured 28 days, and tested as prescribed by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards for performing compression, split tensile, and 3-point flexural loading tests (ASTM C 39-94, 1995a; C 293-94, 1995b; C 496-90, 1995c; C 192-90, 1995d). Furthermore, the data provided from the flexural loading tests are used to calculate the modulus of elasticity and modulus of toughness for all test specimens. The average strengths on the tests for all categories are calculated and subjected to statistical analyses.

Generally, the data collected from this research reveals that the substitution of fiberglass for mineralized wood chips from 5% to 20% will increase the mechanical properties (i.e. compression strength, split-tensile strength, and flexure strength, modulus of elasticity and toughness) of the composite over that of the control group. Combining fiberglass substitution in the range from 5% to 20% with fly ash or spent foundry sand substitution for Portland cement from 1% to 5% was found to also enhance the mechanical properties over that of the control, and in some cases over that of the experimental groups using fiberglass alone. Unfortunately, the use of solid waste substitution for wood fiber increases the weight of the composite (as much as 30%) over that of the control, but remains much lighter than standard concrete.

Statistical analysis of the results reveals that as many as 66% of the experimental groups mixtures demonstrate significantly greater mechanical properties over that of the control, often doubling strength. Overall, one experimental group mixture combining fiberglass and fly ash substitution maintains optimal performance across all mechanical properties tested and it is recommended that it be subjected to further analysis as to its mechanical and physical properties.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Industrial Technology


Department of Industrial Technology

First Advisor

Ahmed Elsawy, Advisor

Second Advisor

Shahram Varzavand, Co-Advisor

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (xiv, 144 pages)



File Format