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Civil and Construction Technology

Volume 2, Issue 3 (2022)

Cement and Clay Bricks Reinforced with Coconut Fiber and Fiber Dust

March 1, 2022


For generations, Sri Lankans use cement bricks and clay bricks as common building materials in the construction field. This study investigates the feasibility of improving the strength while lowering the mass and thermal conductivity of bricks by adding coconut fiber or coconut fiber dust as a reinforcing material. Each reinforcing material is used in both clay and cement bricks. The mixtures are prepared according to varying volume ratios of the raw materials used. Coconut fibers are combed and cut into 4-5 cm pieces and dry coconut fiber dust is sieved using a 4 mm sieving mesh.  The mixture is prepared by hand mixing and the traditional processes are replicated in making the bricks. Tests are carried out to understand the variation of mass, compressive strength, thermal conductivity, and water absorption of the reinforced bricks in comparison to bricks with no reinforced material. The cement brick reinforced with coconut fiber achieves the expected results in the compressive strength test and thermal conductivity test but underperformed when comparing masses and water absorption. Clay bricks reinforced with coconut fiber dust show impressive results in compressive tests and with the addition of dust, the appearance seems to have changed. It is observed that reinforcing cement bricks with coconut fiber could double the compressive strength along with a 5% reduction in mass. Reinforcing clay bricks with coconut fiber dust increases its compressive strength by over 70% while decreasing the mass by over 30 %. The study proves that it is feasible to use reinforced coconut fiber or coconut fiber dust to improve the properties of both clay and cement bricks, while clay bricks reinforced with coconut fiber are an exception.