Indian infrastructure to replace 70% of sand in concrete with shredded plastic

Indian researchers had thought of a unique method that tackles two of the biggest environmental problems: sand conservation and plastic reduction.

The team at Sona College of Technology, Salem, Tamil Nadu, have developed new technology that will both save the country’s second most used natural resource – sand – and help reduce the landfills created by plastic bottle waste, like hitting birds with a rock according to The Weather Channel.

To do this, “the invention of green technology” will replace up to 70% of the sand in the concrete with shredded plastic used in the construction of their infrastructure.

“Our invention successfully uses recycled plastic waste to partially replace fine aggregates or natural sand in the manufacture of paving stones and precast bricks,” said lead inventor Dr. R Malathy, also Dean (R&D) and Professor in the civil engineering department.

The technology has just been patented by the Indian Patent Office.

Turning plastic waste into usable building materials

Sand is an essential ingredient of our lives and the main raw material from which modern cities are made, which is why the most important but least appreciated product of the 21st century has sparked a “wave of violence” in the world. world, wrote the BBC.

“Believe it or not, the world is facing a shortage of sand,” the website says. “How can we run out of a substance that is found in virtually every country in the world and seems essentially limitless?”

In India, almost 70 million tonnes of sand are consumed every year to meet the country’s infrastructure needs, and this consumption is increasing by 7% annually, India Today reported. “At the same time, more than 5 million tonnes of plastic are consumed each year, of which only around a quarter is recycled and the rest ends up in landfills,” the website says.

As a basic element of construction, sand is indeed essential in all parts of the world, and in fact the planet is covered with it. However, the extraction of billions of tons of sand per year has aggravating impacts on the planet and therefore on people’s lives.

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Tackling the two global environmental problems

The team of inventors from Sona College have developed a technology that converts recycled plastic waste into a usable building material to partially replace the traditional concrete ingredient.

“This groundbreaking invention will hopefully help control the depletion of the global stockpile of sand and limit plastic waste,” said Chocko Valliappa, vice president of the Sona Group of Education Institutions. The researchers, including Dr. R Malathy, Dr. SRR Senthil Kumar, N Karuppasamy and K Dhinesh Babu, were granted the patent “Effect of Recycled Plastic Waste as Partial Replacement of Fine Aggregates in the Manufacture of Paving Stones” in 2019. The team won the patent final in early 2022.

Waste bottles (polyethylene terephthalate) collected in Salem were ground to a size below 4.75 mm in large machines. Engineers succeeded in replacing 70% of the natural sand while equaling the resistance of the tri-arch pavers according to the IS 15658-2006 code.

“By using plastic waste and dramatically reducing the use of natural sand, our patented technology offers significant environmental and cost benefits,” said Dr. SRR Senthil Kumar, Principal of Sona College of Technology.

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