Ciencia Colombia , Caldas, Miércoles, 18 de febrero de 2015 a las 10:56

Plantain fiber improves concrete properties

The project is currently being carried out by the UNal-Manizales Chemical, Catalytic and Biotechnological Processes Research Group at the Laboratory of Nanostructured and Functional Materials

UN/DICYT  Strength, flexion and durability are the properties provided to cement when adding plantain and banana fiber previously coated with manganese oxide.

 

This type of coating improves the material’s compression resistance properties such as cellulosic cement, use for building and glues.

 

The project is currently being carried out by the UNal-Manizales Chemical, Catalytic and Biotechnological Processes Research Group at the Laboratory of Nanostructured and Functional Materials where they also are testing banana and guadua fibers.

 

Initially they perform a mechanical procedure to extract the fiber and later dried at outdoor temperature.

Later in the lab fibers are coated with manganese oxide which provides durability and protects the lignocellulosic material of the fiber thanks to the semiconductor properties and resistance to high acidity levels.

 

“Fibers are synthesized in an alkaline media (high pH concentrations) which thanks to the oxide do not breakdown. Manganese oxide withstands high pH levels and easily interacts with the environment which provides greater adherence to the cement matrix enabling greater strength and flexion,” said Professor and member of the group, Nayda Patricia Arias.

 

According to Arias, reports of the American Concrete Institute (ACI) say that elements such as aramid fibers, glass, carbon or steel nanotubes in small quantities can be added to cement to improve its strength and flexion.

 

“Natural fiber is chemically processed resulting in different lengths and concentrations. When added to the cement matrix it could become part of roof tiles, for instance,” said the expert.

 

According to UNal-Manizales research on green supply chains and its application in the agroindustry, plantain production in Colombia produces approximately 75% waste which may be used for its lignocellulosic material.

 

Therefore using this waste would help reduce environmental impact caused by its accumulation.