Polypropylene fibre reinforced cement mortars containing rice husk ash and nano-alumina
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This paper presents the effects of incorporating two supplementary cementitious materials: rice husk ash (RHA) and nano-alumina (NA) in polypropylene fiber (PPF) reinforced cement mortars. RHA is an agricultural waste material and thus recycling of this material has substantial economic and environmental benefits. Compressive strength, flexural strength, water absorption and drying shrinkage of the hardened composites were investigated. The interfacial transition zone and the microstructures were studied by using scanning electron micrograph (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis. A slight increase in compressive strength of mortar was observed by using up to 10 wt% of RHA as a replacement of cement. However, addition of nano-alumina helped the compressive strength of mortar remain approximately equal to that of the control specimen even when 20 or 30 wt% RHA was used. Addition of polypropylene fibers resulted in significant increase in the flexural strength of the mortar specimens. It was also observed that NA and PPF could reduce water absorption by pore blocking effect. The positive interactions between polypropylene fibers and RHA resulted in the lowest drying shrinkage of the fibrous mortar containing RHA. XRD analysis showed that the intensity of Alite and Belite phases decreased and new peak of portlandite produced with the addition of NA. The addition of RHA enhanced the late strength of the cement composites. Consequently, the combined addition of RHA, NA and PPF has resulted in increasing of flexural strength and reduction in both water absorption and drying shrinkage of mortars.
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