An innovative sustainable building material project by a team of civil engineering students from Tamil Nadu has won an award at a competition organized by the Entrepreneurship Development and Innovation Institute. They won the ‘Student Innovators’ award for developing the ‘Replast Pavers and Building Blocks’ project.
Through this project, the team solved the problem of discarded plastic filling up waste dumps on the city outskirts while reducing demand for natural resources like sand, water and raw materials for cement. Availability of salt-free water for making and curing building products is becoming a major issue, affecting the life of new structures.
The ‘Replast Pavers and Building Blocks’ use Industrial by-products like steel slag, copper slag, fly-ash, and waste plastics to replace cement. “The low-cost, good-quality Replast building products do not compromise the mechanical properties and durability. This alternate sustainable product could change the face of the construction industry,” the institute said.
The process involves collection of waste plastics, shredding and heating. Molten plastic mixed with the steel slag or fly-ash along with certain admixture is then placed in the paver and brick molds. “In this product, molten plastics act as binding agents as well as a filler with other materials. Hence, there is no need for water for making and curing the products,” the institute noted.
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