As an important portion of the total plastic waste bulk but lack of reuse and recycling, the enormous amounts of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) solid wastes have led to serious environmental issues. This study explores the feasibility of recycling PET solid wastes as short fibers in Strain-Hardening Cementitious Composites (SHCCs), which exhibit strain-hardening and multiple cracking under tension, and therefore have clear advantages over conventional concrete for many construction applications. Based on micromechanical modeling, fiber dispersion and alkali resistance, the size of recycled PET fibers was first determined. Then the hydrophobic PET surface was treated with NaOH solution followed by a silane coupling agent to achieve the dual purpose of improving the fiber/matrix interfacial frictional bond (from 0.64 MPa to 0.80 MPa) and enhancing the alkali resistance for applications in alkaline cementitious environment. With surface treatment, recycling PET wastes as fibers in SHCCs is a promising approach to significantly reduce the material cost of SHCCs while disposing hazardous PET wastes in construction industry.
Keywords: Fiber surface treatment; Micromechanical modeling; Polyethylene terephthalate; Solid wastes recycling; Strain-Hardening Cementitious Composite.
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