Mechanical optimisation of earth-based composites materials reinforced with treated bamboo fibres for affordable housing

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This project presents an extensive characterization of laterite-cement-based matrix composites, reinforced with chemically modified bamboo fibres. The project is aimed at reducing the cost of building blocks, thereby reducing the amount of cement used through the addition of the bamboo fibres and laterite soil as potential substitutes. Fibre removal and chemically modification was first explored by soaking slabs of bamboo in 5 wt.% NaOH for 14 days. Mechanical characterizations were also carried out with MTS universal testing machine to explore the optimal properties of the composites. Optimum results were obtained at 80 wt.% laterite (L) to 20 wt.% cement (C). Both (80 wt.% L+ 20 wt.% C) were mixed and fused with 20 wt.% of bamboo fibres. This mixture ratio produced the best tensile and compressive results. It also provided as well, a good water absorption rate. Results were then discussed for possible structural applications such as enhancing low building blocks for rural communities in Ghana.
Capstone Project submitted to the Department of Engineering, Ashesi University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering, April 2019
composite materials, bamboo, cement blocks, laterite-cement mix