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Sustainable aggregates from secondary materials for innovative lightweight concrete products

A. Attanasio1, A. Largo1, I. Larraza Alvarez2, F. Sonzogni3, L. Balaceanu4

1 CETMA - Engineering, Design & Materials Technologies Center, Italy
2 ACCIONA Infrastructure, Spain
3 Magnetti Building Spa, Italy
4 IRIDEX Group Plastic Srl, Romania

Large quantities of waste materials are generated from manufacturing processes, industries and municipal solid wastes. As a result, waste management has become one of the major environmental concerns in the world. The increasing awareness about waste management and environment-related issues has led to substantial progress in the utilization of wastes or by-products like plastics as an attractive alternative to disposal. The use of post-consumer plastics in the concrete manufacturing represents an effective solution both to the problem of reducing their environmental impact and to the development of sustainable building industry. The production of new construction materials using recycled plastics is important to both the construction and the plastic recycling industries. In this paper the viability of some secondary plastic materials as aggregates for concrete is assessed. Three different types of plastic scraps (polyurethane foams, tyre rubber and scraps resulting from the sorting of recycled plastics from solid urban wastes) were processed in order to allow their use as aggregates for non-structural concretes. Several mixtures based on recycled aggregates and Portland cement were then manufactured; a large characterization campaign was performed checking how the different amounts of the investigated recycled materials influence the final performances in terms of density, workability, mechanical strength and insulation. The obtained results confirmed that the examined sustainable aggregates could be used for the manufacturing of innovative lightweight concretes products. The potential benefits for industries and society are three: reducing the landfill disposal of several types of solid waste, providing new cost-effective building materials and ensuring the environmental sustainability of the new products.

Key words: Aggregates from secondary plastics, lightweight concretes, thermal insulation, innovative construction components