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Developing structural concrete using plastic waste

Government Polytechnic Bicholim recently collaborated with the University of Bath, UK and M/s ACC Ltd, Kundai for a research project on “Development of Structural Concrete with Plastic Waste as Partial Replacement for Sand” under the aegis of United Kingdom India Education Research Initiatives (UKIERI). Principal Borkar, Government Polytechnic Bicholim and project leader, Dr Purnanand Savoikar explained the proposed research project, “This project carries a funding to the tune of 50000 pounds to be equally shared by Government Polytechnic, Bicholim and its partner institute in UK, the Civil and Architectural Department of University of Bath lead by Dr. John Orr. The project duration is two years and research work will be taking place at Government Polytechnic, Bicholim. University of Bath will provide the necessary support and sophisticated testing facilities for this project.”

The project aims through the use of admixtures and other materials like microsilica to develop concrete mixes with more than 10% plastic waste suitable unreinforced work such as ground bearing slabs where high performance concrete is not required. In addition the project will investigate the effects associated with the use of plastics in concrete such the change in thermal properties and workability, possible improvement in tensile strength, the need to control shrinkage cracks and any possible reduction in durability.

The innovative concrete thus obtained can be utilised for various structural works in the built environment and future research will begin to develop new potential areas of application. Partnering with University of Bath will augment the current research capabilities of our institute by utilizing their expertise in conducting this research work. If successful, this project would allow for the huge volumes of plastic waste in India to be used as a partial replacement for the sand that is used in Indian concrete construction. If just 10% of the sand was replaced with recycled plastic, 0.56×106 tonnes of plastic waste could be used annually.

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