Improving Concrete Durability with Banana Leaf Ash

Jenn Hoskins
14th April, 2024

Improving Concrete Durability with Banana Leaf Ash

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers found that adding up to 10% banana leaf ash (BLA) to concrete boosts its strength by 10%
  • Beyond 10% BLA, concrete's strength slightly decreases, but durability against acids and sulfates improves
  • The study suggests BLA as a sustainable cement alternative, aiding in waste reduction and environmental protection
The construction industry is a cornerstone of economic development, but it's also a significant contributor to environmental concerns, notably through the depletion of raw materials and the emission of greenhouse gases. A promising solution to these issues is the utilization of alternative materials that can reduce both waste and carbon footprint. Researchers at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology have made a significant contribution to this field by exploring the use of banana leaves ash (BLA) as a partial replacement for cement in concrete[1]. Cement is a key ingredient in concrete, but its production is energy-intensive and releases a substantial amount of CO2. The study investigated whether BLA could serve as a sustainable alternative, not only to mitigate environmental impacts but also to enhance the concrete's properties. The research team prepared concrete mixes with varying percentages of BLA (0%, 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20%) and tested their physical and mechanical characteristics. One of the primary concerns when altering concrete composition is the impact on strength. The study found that incorporating up to 10% BLA into the concrete mix actually improved compressive strength by 10%. This increase in strength is attributed to the additional calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) gel formed when BLA interacts with the other components in concrete, which helps bind the materials more effectively. However, when the proportion of BLA was raised beyond 10%, there was a slight decrease in compressive strength. Despite this, the higher percentages of BLA (up to 20%) showcased enhanced durability, particularly in terms of acid and sulfate resistance. These findings suggest that BLA can be an excellent ingredient for concrete, especially in scenarios where durability is a critical factor, even if maximum strength is not required. The research aligns with previous studies that have explored the use of agricultural residues in concrete. For instance, a study[2] assessed the impact of wheat straw ash (WSA) and coir fibers on concrete, finding that a specific combination of these materials could improve strength and reduce permeability. Similarly, another investigation[3] found that WSA could enhance concrete's properties when used as a cement replacement, while also incorporating used engine oil as an admixture to further modify the concrete's characteristics. Furthermore, wood ash (WA), derived from the burning of sawdust, has been evaluated for its suitability as a partial cement replacement[4]. The study concluded that WA could be blended with cement without significantly affecting the strength properties of concrete, with the potential for strength gains at later ages. The findings from Mehran University's study contribute to this growing body of research by demonstrating that BLA can also serve as a viable cement substitute. By optimizing the cement-to-ash ratio, the study not only provides a new use for agricultural waste but also offers a method to produce more durable concrete. The implications of this research are far-reaching. It supports the construction industry's shift towards more sustainable practices by highlighting a method that can reduce the environmental impact of concrete production. This approach not only conserves natural resources but also repurposes agricultural waste, which would otherwise contribute to environmental degradation. In summary, the study from Mehran University of Engineering and Technology presents a compelling case for the use of banana leaf ash in concrete. It shows that BLA can improve the compressive strength of concrete at optimal ratios and significantly enhance durability at higher ratios. These findings, in conjunction with earlier research[2][3][4], underscore the potential for agricultural residues to play a pivotal role in the future of sustainable construction materials.



Main Study

1) Effect of banana tree leaves ash as cementitious material on the durability of concrete against sulphate and acid attacks.

Published 15th April, 2024 (future Journal edition)

Related Studies

2) Effect of wheat straw ash as cementitious material on the mechanical characteristics and embodied carbon of concrete reinforced with coir fiber.

3) Effect of used engine oil on the mechanical properties and embodied carbon of concrete blended with wheat straw ash as cementitious material.

4) Strength development in concrete with wood ash blended cement and use of soft computing models to predict strength parameters.

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