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Construction and Building Materials 28 (2012) 357–361

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Construction and Building Materials

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Physical and mechanical properties of mortars without cement

Hanifi Binici a,⇑, Remzi Gemci b, Hasan Kaplan c
a _
Department of Civil Engineering, The University of K.Marasß Sütçü Imam, K.Marasß, Turkey
b _
Department of Textile Engineering, The University of K.Marasß Sütçü Imam, K.Marasß, Turkey
Department of Civil Engineering, Epoka University, Tirana, Albania

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: In this study, production of mortars with disposable polyethylene bottles, but without cement, was inves-
Received 1 June 2011 tigated. The disposable polyethylene bottles were crushed and converted into fiber formation. Then fibers
Received in revised form 14 August 2011 were molten with different types of sands at the temperature range of 180–200 °C. Some physical (e.g.
Accepted 16 August 2011
water absorption and abrasion resistance) and some mechanical (e.g. bending strength, compressive
Available online 20 October 2011
strength, toughness) properties of mortars were tested. The results indicated that bending strength
and toughness of mortars were improved. Besides, water absorption of mortar was negligible and abra-
sion was nearly equal to zero.
Bending strength
Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Mortar without cement

1. Introduction Cement is often considered a key industry for a number of rea-

sons [21]. To begin with, cement is an essential input into the pro-
Recently, many studies have been done on the usage of dispos- duction of concrete, a primary building material for the
able materials in concrete [1–3]; especially on evaluating PET as construction industry. Due to the importance of cement for various
aggregate or fiber [4–11]. Usage of disposable plastic material in construction-related activities such as highways, residential and
concrete has become widespread since the last 20 years. In concrete, commercial buildings, tunnels and dams, production trends tend
these plastics are used as aggregate or binding agent [12]. Polyethyl- to reflect general economic activity. Furthermore, because of the
ene takes place with different formations in daily life and then it is large demand for cement, the relatively high costs associated with
evaluated by recycling [13]. It is known that numbers of shrinkage transport of the high-density product, and the wide geographic dis-
cracks are decreased by adding polyethylene fibers into concrete. tribution of limestone, the principal raw material used to produce
As considering that plastic shrinkage deforms quickly. Because, cement, cement is produced across the Turkey. Cement production
it is rarely impairs the strength of a concrete element. However, it also is a key source of CO2 emissions, due in part to the significant
will has a dramatic impact on the appearance of the concrete; reliance on coal and petroleum coke to fuel the kilns for clinker pro-
where it penetrates full depth it may lead to water penetration duction. Globally, CO2 emissions from cement production were
problems. The use of some plastic fiber can be elemine plastic estimated at 829 MMT CO2 in 2000, approximately 5% of global
shrinkage [14–16]. These shrinkages cause some durability prob- CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production.
lems such as; wetting–drying and freezing–thawing. It is com- In addition to combustion-related emissions, cement production
monly shown by many studies that flexibility is gained to these also is a source of process-related emissions resulting from the re-
brittle materials by plastic fibers having different fiber lengths lease of CO2 during the calcination of limestone. 5% carbon dioxide
[17]. Plastic fibers having low elastic modulus, increase perfor- is released to atmosphere during cement production [22]. Durabil-
mance rate of mortar and also prevent shrinkage occurrence by ity is the other problem of mortars containing cement. It is known
decreasing tensile stress. Durability problems are reduced by pre- that Rome and Ottoman buildings have already been in good condi-
venting shrinkage occurrence. Plastic fibers, which have different fi- tion whereas durability problems cause considerably high expense
ber lengths and are homogeneously distributed in mortar, prevent for restoration of recently constructed buildings [23].
shrinkage occurrence on the hardened mortar surface [18–20]. Concrete is a brittle material with a low capacity for deforma-
Toughness is the capacity of being deformed under dynamic tion under tensile stress. Mechanical loading, deleterious reactions,
forces. These plastic fibers gain toughness to hardened mortar. and environment loading can result in the development of tensile
stresses in concrete [24]. These tensile stresses all too frequently
⇑ Corresponding author. result in cracking that can adversely affect the performance of con-
E-mail address: (H. Binici). crete. However, the potential for cracking can be minimized by

0950-0618/$ - see front matter Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
358 H. Binici et al. / Construction and Building Materials 28 (2012) 357–361

appropriate precautions in design, materials and proportions, and Table 3

construction practices. These precautions will ensure that concrete Physical properties of limestone, basalt and quartz sands.

can be used satisfactorily for an extended period of time without Properties Sand type
any significant loss of esthetics, service life, safety, and serviceabil- Limestone Basalt Quartz
ity. On the other hand, concrete without cement does not occur to
Specific gravity (kg/dm3) 2.67 2.67 1.54
the same extent as shrinkage. Thus, in this study, it is aimed to pro- Absorption rate (%) 18.8 17.8 17.6
duce concrete mortar without cement. Disposable PET (polyethyl- Fine material rate (%) 7.44 5.23 3.03
ene terephthalate) and sands were molten at the temperature of Light material rate (%) 0.20 0.98 2.10
200 °C and then this mixture was molded. Bending strength, com- Organic material None None None

pression strength, water absorption and abrasion resistance tests

were performed on these mortars.
Table 4
2. Materials and methods Petrographic examination results.

Stone type % Sand type

2.1. Materials
Limestone Basalt Quartz
2.1.1. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
Limestone 63.4 19.5 –
Chemical and mechanical properties of disposable PET bottles are given in Ta-
Spilite, Basalt, Andesite 20.1 53 0.2
ble 1. They were obtained from the canteen of the KSU.
Chert, Opal 12.5 18 0.2
Serpentinized peridotite – – 1
2.1.2. Sands Gabbro, Diorite 1.9 1 1.5
Pumice is a porous, spongy and glassy volcanic stone. It is resistant to chemical Quartz 1.1 8.5 97.1
and physical factors and contains approximately 50% humidity. Its specific gravity Schist – – –
can be decreased up to 0.5 g/cm3 if its humidity is removed. Abrasion rate of these Grit stone – – –
stone changes according to SiO2 quantity. Heat resistance is directly related with
Al2O3 rate. Na2O and K2O minerals are famous for their reactive properties in textile
industry. Pumice used in this study is supplied from Osmaniye region and it has
basaltic structure [25]. In concrete production, it is used pumice granules with 3. Results and discussion
dimensions of 0.5 mm. Physical properties and petrographic examination results
of these sands are illustrated in Tables 2–4. The dimensions of sands which were
used in the study was 0–5 mm.
3.1. Compressive strength

2.2. Method
Concrete specimens are used for obtaining amount of load per
unit area and observing behaviors of concretes produced with
Concretes without cement were individually prepared with each sand type by these mortars. These technical data give ideas about practical
using 33, 3% PET by weight. In material production, PET were mechanically crushed applications. Compressive strengths of these hardened plastic con-
and converted into fibers. Then, the mortars were obtained by mixing the PET fibers
crete specimens were tested with uniaxial compression testing
with various types of sands at a temperature range of 200–210 °C. After desired vis-
cosity was obtained, each sand was mixed with viscous PET molten in different con- device (Fig. 4). Results are given in Table 5. Concretes containing
tainers. It was tried to provide optimum homogeneity during heating. These plastic materials have satisfactory test results. Especially, compres-
different mortars were poured into 4  4  16 cm molds (Figs. 1–3). Concrete mor- sive strengths of concretes containing quartz and limestone are
tars were produced by mixing sands with same quantities. Compressive strengths 35% higher than that of control specimens. From Table 5, the value
of these specimens were measured after molding process. Abrasion and absorption
values were also obtained. Control mortars were produced according to the Rilem
for basalt 29.70% is higher than the amount for limestone 27.57%.
standard specimens. The lowest compressive strength is observed in concretes with
pumice sands, even lower than control specimens.

Table 1
Properties of disposable PET bottles (TS-EN-ISO 9002).

Properties Values
Chemical structure 100% Polyethylene
Specific gravity 0.91 g/cm3
Absorption Rarely
Melting point 160 °C
Ignition temperature 250 °C
Thermal conductivity Low
Electrical conductivity Low
Tensile strength 300–400 N/mm2
Elastic modulus 4000 N/mm2

Table 2
Physical and chemical properties of pumice.

Components % Age
SiO2 65.8
Al2O3 15.5
Fe2O3 2.5
CaO 2.4
MgO 2.7
Na2O + K2O 7.6
Color: brown–black
Stiffness: 1.6 (N/m) Fig. 1. Molding of mortars.
H. Binici et al. / Construction and Building Materials 28 (2012) 357–361 359

Table 5
Compression strength test results.

Specimens Compression strength (MPa)

Concrete with pumice sand 18.55
Concrete with limestone sand 27.57
Concrete with quartz sand 32.15
Concrete with basalt sand 29.17
Control (concrete with cement) 20.37

Fig. 2. 4  4  16 cm specimens.

Fig. 5. Bending strength test.

between stress and strain is graphically shown in Fig. 6 and tough-

ness values of specimens are given in Table 7. It is observed that
specimens containing pumice sand have more flexible construc-
tion. Toughness values of concretes with quartz sands are the high-
est results. High flexibility values of concretes with pumice sands
are caused by amorphous structure of pumice. Crystalline structure
and stiffness of quartz leads to higher toughness values. The tensile
strengths of the mixtures containing all sands were nearly equal,
Fig. 3. 10  10  10 cm specimens.
but they did not reach to flexural–tensile strength values of speci-
mens with basalt sand. The flexural–tensile strengths of mortars
3.2. Bending strength containing PET were higher than the concrete with cements (Ta-
bles 5 and 6).
Bending strengths of hardened plastic concrete specimens are
measured with one-point bending test device (Fig. 5). Test results 3.3. Abrasion and absorption values
are shown in Table 5 and Fig. 6. According to test results, relation
New specimens with dimensions of 71  71  71 mm were pre-
pared in order to obtain surface abrasion. Surfaces were numbered
from 1 to 4 after controlling curves and dimensions of specimens.
They were measured with micrometer. Specimens were placed on

Fig. 4. Compression strength test. Fig. 6. Stress–strain deformation curve.

360 H. Binici et al. / Construction and Building Materials 28 (2012) 357–361

Table 6 compression strength is seen in concretes containing pumice. This

Elasticity, stress and strain results of specimens. is a result of pumice’s porous structure.
Specimens Elastic modulus Stress Strain Polyethylene improves flexibility of concretes and increases
(MPa) (MPa) (%) toughness. Concretes containing quartz have higher toughness.
Concrete with pumice sand 271.09 13.18 8.12 On the other hand, flexibility of concretes with pumice sand is
Concrete with limestone 322.36 13.77 5.13 higher than that of others. Pumice develops flexibility due to its
sand high amorphous structure. Higher toughness is the result of high
Concrete with quartz sand 300.96 11.06 5.11
Concrete with basalt sand 288.45 14.12 5.02
stiffness and more crystalline structure of quartz.
Control (concrete with 243.22 6.43 4.02 Absorption and abrasion rate of concretes are directly related
cement) with aggregate type and quantity. Concretes prepared with pumice
sand, have higher abrasion and absorption rates. However, all spec-
imens have lower abrasion and absorption rates than that of con-
trol concretes containing cement.
Table 7 Cracks and shrinkage are directly caused durability problem of
Toughness values of specimens.
concrete. Because it is dependent on the hydration process. How-
Specimens Toughness values ever, this tye mortar did not face to any durability problem. There-
Control (concrete with cement) 74.8 fore, concrete without cement can be used especially underground
Concrete with basalt sand 285.4 structure, pavement and walking road construction.
Concrete with pumice sand 124.7
Concrete with limestone sand 135.4
Concrete with quartz sand 36.2

We are heartily thankful to Associate Professor Fatih MENGE-

LOĞLU and PhD student Kadir KARAKUS ß who never withholds their
Table 8
help during experiment.
Abrasion and absorption values of specimens.

Specimens Abrasion values according to Water

weight loss (%) absorption (%)
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