Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 31103
Effect of Natural Fibres Inclusion in Clay Bricks: Physico-Mechanical Properties

Authors: Chee-Ming Chan


In spite of the advent of new materials, clay bricks remain, arguably, the most popular construction materials today. Nevertheless the low cost and versatility of clay bricks cannot always be associated with high environmental and sustainable values, especially in terms of raw material sources and manufacturing processes. At the same time, the worldwide agricultural footprint is fast growing, with vast agricultural land cultivation and active expansion of the agro-based industry. The resulting large quantities of agricultural wastes, unfortunately, are not always well managed or utilised. These wastes can be recycled, such as by retrieving fibres from disposed leaves and fruit bunches, and then incorporated in brick-making. This way the clay bricks are made a 'greener' building material and the discarded natural wastes can be reutilised, avoiding otherwise wasteful landfill and harmful open incineration. This study examined the physical and mechanical properties of clay bricks made by adding two natural fibres to a clay-water mixture, with baked and non-baked conditions. The fibres were sourced from pineapple leaves (PF) and oil palm fruit bunch (OF), and added within the range of 0.25-0.75 %. Cement was added as a binder to the mixture at 5-15 %. Although the two fibres had different effects on the bricks produced, cement appeared to dominate the compressive strength. The non-baked bricks disintegrated when submerged in water, while the baked ones displayed cement-dependent characteristics in water-absorption and density changes. Interestingly, further increase in fibre content did not cause significant density decrease in both the baked and non-baked bricks.

Keywords: Density, Strength, Clay Bricks, natural fibres, water absorption

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 4045


[1] Olotuah, A. O. "Recourse to earth for low-cost housing in Nigeria", Building and Environment, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 123-129, 2002.
[2] Quagliarini, W., Lenci, S. and Iorio, M. "Mechanical properties of adobe walls in a Roman Republican domus at Suasa", Journal of Cultural Heritage, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 130-137, 2010.
[3] Quagliarini, W. and Lenci, S. "The influence of natural stabilisers and natural fibres on the mechanical properties of ancient Roman adobe bricks", Journal of Cultural Heritage, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 309-314, 2010.
[4] Demir, I. "An investigation on the production of construction brick with processed waste tea", Building and Environment, vol. 41, no. 9, pp. 1274-1278, 2006.
[5] Turgut, P. and Yesilata, B. "Physico-mechanical and thermal performances of newly developed rubber-added bricks", Energy and Buildings, vol. 40, no. 5, pp. 679-688, 2008.
[6] Binici, H., Aksogan, O. and Shah, T. "Investigation of fibre reinforced mud brick as a building material", Construction and Building Materials, vol. 19, no. 4, pp. 313-318, 2005.
[7] Russ, W., Mörtel, H. and Meyer-Pittroff, R. "Application of spent grains to increase porosity in bricks", Construction and Building Materials, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 117-126, 2005.
[8] Yetgin, ┼×., ├çavdar, O. and ├çavdar, A. "The effects of the fibre contents on the mechanic properties of the adobes", Construction and Building Materials, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 222-227, 2008.
[9] Binici, H., Aksogan, O., Bakbak, D., Kaplan, H. and Bilge, I. "Sound insulation of fibre reinforced mud brick walls", Construction and Building Materials, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 1035-1041, 2009.
[10] British Standards BS1377-2:1990, Methods of test for soil for civil engineering purposes, Part 2: classification tests, 1998.
[11] Galán-Marín, C., Rivera-Gómez, C. and Petric, J. "Clay-based composite stabilised with natural polymer and fibre", Construction and Building Materials, vol. 24, no. 8, pp. 1462-1468, 2010.
[12] Demir, I., Baspinar, M. S. and Orhan, M. "Utilization of kraft pulp residues in clay brick production", Building and Environment, vol. 40, no. 11, pp. 1533-1537, 2005.
[13] British Standards BS3921: 1985. Specifications for clay bricks, 1998.
[14] Malaysian Standards MS76: 1972. Specifications for bricks and blocks of fired bricks, clay or shale, Part 2: metric units, 1972.
[15] Weng, C-H., Lin, D-F. and Chiang, P-C. "Utilization of sludge as brick materials", Advances in Environmental Research, vol. 7, pp. 679-685, 2003.
[16] Rahman, M. A. "Properties of clay-sand-rice husk ash mixed bricks", Cement Composites and Lightweight Concrete, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 105-108, 1987.
[17] Budhu, M. "Soil mechanics and foundations, 2nd. ed.", John Wiley & Sons, New York, 2007.
[18] Murray, M. J., Pepplinkhouse, H. J. and Liversidge, R. M. "Production of lightweight bricks and blocks utilising sawdust wastes", Division of Building Research Report, CSIRO, Australia, 1981.
[19] Demir, I. "Effect of organic residues addition on the technological properties of clay bricks", Waste Management, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 622-627, 2008.
[20] Tauber, E., Pepplinkhouse, H. J. and Crook, D. H. "Lightweight ceramics", Journal of Australian Ceramic Society, vol. 10, pp. 12-15, 1974.
[21] Ducman, V. and Kopar, T. "Sawdust and paper-making sludge as pore-forming agents for lightweight clay bricks source", Industrial Ceramics, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 81-86, 2001.
[22] Binici, H., Aksogan, O., Bodur, M. N., Akca, E. and Kapur, S. "Thermal isolation and mechanical properties of fibre reinforced mud bricks as well as materials", Construction and Building Materials, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 901-906, 2007.