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Recycling of Materials in Civil Engineering

Although Britain is relatively rich in natural aggregate reserves, planning approvals to develop new quarries are running at about half the rate of aggregate extraction. The use of secondary materials, such as recycled aggregate, might not create a major course of aggregate but if secondary material were used in less demanding situations, the quantity of natural aggregate required by the construction industry would be reduced.

This dissertation reports mainly on laboratory tests conducted on crushed concrete and demolition debris to examine the potential use of these materials in new construction. Standard aggregate tests were conducted on the materials to check their compliance with the Specification for Highway Works (1986), particularly for use as aggregate in road sub-base layers.

A more detailed examination of the aggregates was conducted with regard to CBR, shear strength and frost susceptibility where the influences of moisture content, density and particle packing on these properties were investigated. One part of the study involved examining the use of recycled aggregate as the coarse aggregate fraction in new concrete.

An analysis of the shear strength data was conducted using the dilatancy index defined by Bolton (1986). From the frost susceptibility results, it was concluded that further work would be required in this area to determine the main factors which influence the frost heave of recycled aggregates. The recycled aggregate concrete compared well with the natural aggregate concrete and appeared to be of superior quality than that produced in other research.

During the study, it became evident that the recycled aggregates could perform as well as limestone in most cases and therefore could be considered for many potential uses. Some recommendations are presented at the end of this dissertation for the development of a standard on recycled materials which would help to promote the use of recycled aggregates in the construction industry in Britain.
Source: Oxford University
Author: M.M. O’Mahony

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