Academics invent walls made from recycled shredded paper

Walls could be made from shredded paper after researchers at Nottingham Trent University developed a new material which is as strong as MDF.

A study led by Dr Anton Ianakiev, of the School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, and Dr Anthony Crabbe, of School of Art & Design, established a new, rigid composite material which is paper-based but also fire and water resistant.

It is made from a mixture of long strands of shredded office paper and a sodium silicate gluing agent, which protects against flame and moisture.

To make it, the two materials are mixed at a ratio of 80% paper and 20 sodium silicate and then compressed at high pressures at 90°c.

The result is a composite material which removes the need to recycle the paper and is affordable, quick to manufacture, competitive against chipboard and MDF (medium density-fibreboard) and can be moulded into various shapes, including structural panels.

Dr Ianakiev, a senior lecturer in civil engineering, said: “It’s very important that the materials of tomorrow are designed to be as sustainable as possible.

“Shredded paper, which is widely available, could become a viable construction material at a potentially low cost.

“The fact that it can be used to make a rigid material that is fire and water resistant will surely make it very appealing to the construction industry.”

To further exploit the material’s high stiffness, the researchers moulded it into a ribbed pattern that greatly increased its load bearing capacity.

Crabbe added: “We’re very pleased with the results of moulding this composite material which performs better than chipboard in respect of its strength, versatility and its variety of potential applications.”

Postgraduate researcher Hooi Cheah, who worked on the project, said: “Recycled waste paper really could become an important future material for the construction industry as it is a more sustainable way of reprocessing waste paper than recycling it.”

Your News

If you've got a story that would be of interest to Builder & Engineer readers, send us an email

Features

2017-05-31 13:33

The rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) will rise by two per cent on June 1 to 12 per cent on all non-exempt transactions. Martin Bennison, managing director at construction finance firm Ultimate Finance, explains what this means for UK construction companies.

2017-05-25 08:41

Building Information Modelling (BIM) is growing in popularity and is now mandatory for centrally funded public-sector projects. Experts and the curious are gathering more and more frequently at dedicated congresses, exhibitions and workshops. Many people are now asking: Where does the UK stand on the issue of BIM and the digitisation of the construction industry?

2017-05-10 10:47

Opening site doors to more females is vital to plugging the construction skills gap, reports Claire Cameron

THE construction industry continues to be plagued by a well-documented skills gap with some suggesting the shortage could get worse before it gets better.

2017-05-08 14:27

If you work on a building site, are self-employed or have a zero-hours contract, you might be surprised to know you work in the ”gig economy”. This is the economy characterised by temporary work and irregular hours, pay and working conditions.

2017-03-29 10:31

Jeremy Gould, VP sales Europe, TomTom Telematics, discusses how technological developments in vehicle telematics have opened up new workflow management possibilities for the construction industry

2017-03-21 09:31

With the demand of oil increasing, it’s estimated that the Earth will reach its full capacity for oil consumption at some point within the next 20 years. This is despite the production of oil decreasing, and the construction industry is no exception to this, reports Niftylift.

2017-03-17 10:55

With construction firms leading the way in drone technology, Claire Cameron takes a closer look at how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be used onsite

2017-03-07 16:20

While the physical safety of workers is prioritised on construction sites, mental health is often overlooked, reports Claire Cameron

Free E-newsletter Sign-Up

Sign up for our free e-newsletter

Looking for a company or service?