As an alternative to the use of cement, Mexican scientists have developed a construction material made out of recycled paper, coal, marble, and styrofoam products, as well as ash from sugarcane’s bagasse.
Researchers from the University of Papaloapan, Oaxaca, led by Martha Poisot, decided to test the material, which could eventually replace cement in building construction, since it is considerably cheaper, more sustainable, and resistant.
The product is called Polymeric Ash System (PAS) and experts are now seeking to build their first production plant with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of construction by recycling industrial waste.
The specialist in Chemical Sciences, Martha Poisot, presented the innovative project at the First National Forum of Science, Technology and Innovation 2018.
According to the Mexican Academy of Sciences (AMC), Poisot's team has developed prototypes such as blocks of 50 x 50 centimeters.
Among the tests performed was a temperature measurement with regard to cement. The new eco-friendly material turned out to be a thermal insulator with the capacity to conserve energy. Hypothetically, a house built with this material wouldn’t need much heating or air conditioning.
The material is light and plastic, which makes it useful for aesthetic purposes. However, it can also be combined with steel and used to solve structural problems in larger buildings.
"We receive the waste materials and, in a single step, through chemical reactions, we convert the organic matter, along with the binder, into hydrophobic cellulose that is compatible with the sugar cane ash. The material can be used instead of marble in the thermoelectric industry, and can even serve as a substitute for styrofoam materials used to store food products," he said.
The project was financed by the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) through the Fund for Scientific Development Projects to Address National Problems.