Assessment of Mechanical, Thermal Insulation and Water Sorption Properties of Natural Fiber-Cement Composites

  • Author / Creator
    Kareem Abdelghany
  • The growth of awareness about the environmental issues caused by the construction industry
    has fueled innovation in sustainable building practices in recent years. Of particular concern is
    the need for solutions to reduce the high carbon footprint of current building materials such as
    cement and concrete. A potential remedy to the adverse environmental effects of the
    construction industry is the replacement of non-renewable materials with a natural and easily
    renewable counterpart. This study investigates the effects of fiber type, fiber volume fraction,
    and fiber size on the compression, flexural, thermal insulation and water absorption properties
    of natural fiber cement composites. The fibers used were obtained from Alberta based crops:
    wheat straw and hemp hurd. These fibers were each sieved and characterized in two size
    categories, coarse and fine, and added to the cement at 3 volume fractions: 5%, 10%, and 15%.
    The results indicate that the addition of fibers to cement decrease the compression strength,
    increase the flexural strength, increase the thermal resistivity, and increase the saturation
    moisture content of the composite compared to the control (unreinforced cement). In addition,
    a moisture sorption model based on Fick’s law showed reasonable fit to the experimental data.
    Overall, this study demonstrated that cements reinforced with natural fibers offer improved
    flexural (crack resistance) and insulating properties compared to unreinforced cement which may
    be advantageous in a number of building product applications (e.g. architectural or nonstructural components). However, these natural fiber composites also had reduced compressive
    strengths, and were more susceptible to moisture uptake. These characteristics may affect the
    usage of these materials in main structural components, and may also require proper protection
    from moisture in outdoor applications.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.