9:00 am - 10:00 am
A graduate exam seminar is a presentation of the student’s final research project for their degree.
This is an ALES MSc Final Exam Seminar by Kareem Abdelghany. This seminar is open to the general public to attend.
Link for remote attendance: https://ualberta-ca.zoom.us/j/98941413260?pwd=dXhCU1pIaDhxNUxYeHd1UFU2M1dEQT09
Thesis Topic: Assessment of Mechanical, Insulative and Water Sorption Properties of Natural Fiber-Cement Composites
MSc with Dr. John Wolodko
The growth of awareness about the environmental issues caused by the construction industry has fueled innovation in sustainable building practices in recent years. A potential remedy to the adverse environmental effects of the construction industry is the replacement of non-renewable materials with a natural and easily renewable counterpart. This study investigates the effects of fiber type, fiber volume fraction, and fiber size on the compression, flexural, thermal insulation and water absorption properties of natural fiber Portland cement composites. The fibers used were Alberta based agricultural residuals: wheat straw and hemp hurd. These fibers were each sieved and characterized in two size categories, coarse and fine, and added to the cement at 3 volume fractions: 5%, 10%, and 15%. The results indicate that the addition of fibers to cement decrease the compression strength, increase the flexural strength, increase the thermal resistivity, and increase the saturation moisture content of the composite compared to the control (unreinforced cement). In addition, a moisture sorption model based on Fick’s law showed reasonable fit to the experimental data. Overall, this study demonstrated that cements reinforced with natural fibers offer improved flexural (crack resistance) and insulating properties compared to unreinforced cement which may be advantageous in a number of building product applications. However, these natural fiber composites also had reduced compressive strengths, and were more susceptible to moisture uptake. These characteristics may affect the usage of these materials in main structural components, and may also require proper protection from moisture in outdoor applications.