Among the insulation materials used in the building and construction industry, fibreboard has attracted significant attention. They vary from medium-density to high-density depending on the desired application. Despite the availability of several techniques for the production of fibreboard, there is a high need to develop fabrication approaches based on the utilization of solid wastes that will help solve the current environmental challenges.
Low-cost, sustainable and renewable sources of potential lignocellulosic composites can be obtained from municipal wastes and their effective utilization will enhance waste management. Consequently, lignocellulosic wastes can be derived from industrial activities such as construction, pulp, and paper production. These wastes emit methane and carbon dioxide that contribute to greenhouse gases. Recently, the use of these wastes in the production of fibreboard has been investigated. This has led to the use of cementitious materials such as ordinary Portland cement from limestone for binding purposes.
Dr. Ebenezer Ojo from University of Strathclyde and Dr. M. Okwu from the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Lawrence Edomwonyi-Otu from Ahmadu Bello University and Dr. F. Oyawale from the Covenant University investigated the use of waste paper and water hyacinth made from woody biomass as composites in the production of cement-bonded fibreboard. Ordinary Portland cement binder was mixed with other materials including gypsum plasters and wood ash in the desired ratios to form binding matrices. The effect of mixing ratios of the composites and binders’ concentrations was evaluated based on the one-factor-at-a-time method. The work is currently published in Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management.
The fibreboards comprised of different proportions of composites, binders, and additives. It generally required a low-cost design and fabrication approach for the mixer and screw press. An improvement in the mechanical properties was observed. For instance, the bi-composite fibreboard from water hyacinth mixed with waste paper exhibited enhanced tensile strength. Additionally, using the waste paper and water hyacinth as the primary lignocellulosic resulted in the production of bi-composite fibreboard with improved quality standards as compared to those presently available in the market. Even though micronisation and hornification of the waste paper before use was believed to have contributed to the enhancement of the fibreboard formation, the assumption was not verified in this paper.
The use of a wood ash additive also improved the fire-retardant properties of the fabricated cement-bonded bi-composite fibreboard. Besides, it was necessary to investigate the impact of using fibreboard in building and construction by comparing the fibreboard with densities ranging from 0.50-0.57 g cm-3 with the ASTM and ANSI standards. Due to the good agreement between the results, fibreboard materials proved potential alternative materials for building and construction applications.
In summary, Dr. Ojo and his colleagues assessed the reuse of waste paper and water hyacinth wastes for fibreboard production. Through large scale production of environment-friendly fibreboard materials, effective management and utilization of water hyacinth and other solid wastes would be attained. In a statement to the Advances in Engineering, Dr. Ojo the lead author observed that the study will not only advance environmental and water bodies protection but also pave way for the development of advanced analytical techniques for assessing the use of fibreboard material in the building and construction industry. The authors do encourage further investigation to further enhance this preliminary studies.
Ojo, E., Okwu, M., Edomwonyi-Otu, L., & Oyawale, F. (2019). Initial assessment of reuse of sustainable wastes for fibreboard production: the case of waste paper and water hyacinth. Journal of Material Cycles and Waste Management, 21(5), 1177-1187.