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Russian scholars: the quality of concrete can be improved with the help of burnt straw
Jun 27 , 2022

Russian scholars have found that using burnt straw in concrete production can improve its physical and mechanical properties by almost a quarter. New eco-friendly technologies for producing concrete will also contribute to the efficient use of agricultural waste.

According to the staff of the Don National Technical University (DSTU, Russia), the burnt straw is ground into a fine powder, which can be used in the production of building materials. Straw can be added to building material compositions, for example, when producing building blocks with cement binders. This will help improve their strength and thermal insulation, the scholars say.

Researchers at the Don National Technical University have determined through experiments that adding 6% by weight of cement to straw biochar is the most effective. According to the analysis results of the tensile diagram, the improvement of concrete performance is manifested by an increase in its physical-mechanical properties and a change in deformation capacity. Increases in strength properties range from 17% to 25%. The elastic modulus increased to 14%. Deformation characteristics decreased from 24% to 12%.

Experts from the Don National Technical University believe that when industrial by-products are used in the composition of adhesives and concrete, and when the proportion of Portland cement is reduced, it is very important to maintain and improve the mechanical properties of the resulting product and its service life. Therefore, they focused on studying the effect of adding biochar on the microstructure and properties of concrete, and obtained composites with improved properties by nano-modification of straw-regenerated biochar.

Sergey Stelmakh, associate professor at the Department of "Engineering Geology, Principles and Fundamentals" at Don National Technical University, told Sputnik, "This research will not only help to solve the problem of the final consumers of the results of our work but also the major problem in building complexes, and it can also solve the problem in agriculture. There is no doubt that our research is also of interest to raw material suppliers. At present, raw materials are abundant.”

According to preliminary estimates by scholars at the Don National Technical University, the introduction of finely pulverized straw biochar modified by electromagnetic methods will lead to a 10% reduction in cement consumption. Similar research is being carried out all over the world, but the novelty of the research and development of the scholars of the Don National Technical University is the use of agricultural waste - straw to create an environmentally friendly technology for obtaining concrete, developed the composition of concrete, and figured out dependence of concrete properties on nano-modification of straw with processed coal.

The scholars describe the methods, formulations, and technological factors of processing waste and its utilization that influence the process of making nanomodified concrete blocks.

"We were first interested in the detailed analysis of the raw materials used, and then the dependencies between the final properties of the nano-modified concrete blocks by processing straw biochar," Stelimacher noted. "We tracked each cycle of the study, and document the results step by step at each stage.”

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