Mechanical and Thermal Properties of Synthetic Polypropylene Fiber-Reinforced Renewable Oil Palm Shell Lightweight Concrete

Materials (Basel). 2021 Apr 30;14(9):2337. doi: 10.3390/ma14092337.


Oil palm shell (OPS) is an agricultural solid waste from the extraction process of palm oil. All these wastes from industry pose serious disposal issues for the environment. This research aims to promote the replacement of conventional coarse aggregates with eco-friendly OPS aggregate which offers several advantages, such as being lightweight, renewable, and domestically available. This paper evaluates the mechanical and thermal performances of renewable OPS lightweight concrete (LWC) reinforced with various type of synthetic polypropylene (SPP) fibers. Monofilament polypropylene (MPS) and barchip polypropylene straight (BPS) were added to concrete at different volume fractions (singly and hybrid) of 0%, 0.1%, 0.3% and 0.4%. All specimens were mixed by using a new mixing method with a time saving of up to 14.3% compared to conventional mixing methods. The effects of SPP fibers on the mechanical properties were investigated by compressive strength, splitting tensile strength and residual strength. The strength of the oil palm shell lightweight concrete hybrid 0.4% (OPSLWC-HYB-0.4%) mixture achieved the highest compressive strength of 29 MPa at 28 days. The inclusion of 0.3% of BPS showed a positive outcome with the lowest thermal conductivity value at 0.55 W/m °C. Therefore, the results revealed that incorporation of BPS fiber enhanced the performance of thermal conductivity tests as compared to inclusion of MPS fiber. Hence, renewable OPS LWC was proven to be a highly recommended environmentally friendly aggregate as an alternative solution to replace natural aggregates used in the concrete industry.

Keywords: lightweight concrete; mechanical properties; oil palm shell; polypropylene fiber; thermal conductivity.