Potential Bricks Production Using Recycling Materials Construction Essay

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During the recent years, the cost of construction materials price is keep on increasing day by day, this is mainly because highly demand in the industry for the developed country like Malaysia which caused scarcity of raw materials as most of the traditional construction materials are being produced in large amount from using existing natural resources. It is indirectly cause damage and harmful to the environment due to non stop exploration and depletion of natural resources.

In accordance with that, awareness of environmental matter rises among our society hence this makes designers and engineers eager to introduce more various eco friendly methods like in which production involves in using potential recycle waste materials. These can be seen by Aubert, Husson, Sarramone (2006, p 624) clearly stated that many involved and relevant authorities and certain investigators are already frequently working to have the privilege of reusing and recycling the solid wastes in environmentally and economically sustainable ways.

Whereas according to Ismail,Yaacob (2010,p 878) claim that the conventional cement and sand bricks are currently now consider as one of the bricks types that are commonly used and favourite choice and application in among the low and medium cost housing development and other commercial construction in Malaysia, the main reason is due to they are easier and cheaper in term of production but currently, problem tend to arise which plague production of these materials that are mainly happened in developing areas where manufacturers have difficulty to locate adequate sources for the brick production due to the supply of natural resources such as natural aggregates are limited.

Hence this research will focus to review the potential and possible use of various recycling solid wastes for producing bricks to substitute the traditional cement and sand bricks which are now commonly used, although the productions of cement and sand bricks are cheap and easy to manufacture but due to highly demand in market, it is currently facing inadequate source due to shortage of natural resources like natural aggregates, it could be notice if continues using it will definitely causing negative effects and impacts on the environment.


To review the potential of bricks production with available recycled waste materials in Malaysian construction industry.


To identify the available recycling solid wastes to produce bricks.

To compare the characteristics of available recycling materials with traditional materials which used to produce bricks.

To examine the problems and barriers encountered by using alternative recycling materials to produce bricks in Malaysia.

To ascertain the factors which encourage the future growth of bricks production and usage using recycling materials.


Alternative recycling waste material can be successfully used to substitute conventional materials for bricks production with the positive government initiative toward eco-friendly environment.

Research Methodology

Literature review

This research shall beginand conducted with a literature review to source out and overview all types of available recycling materials for bricks production. 2 types of literature sources will be taken into account, primary source shall be academic research journal which can be look through internet in Google scholar or e-library of Tarc college website, while secondary sources should be relevant books and newspaper which could be borrow from library. The literature review will include all relevant background, types, characteristic and also pros cons of the recycling waste materials for bricks production.

Questionnaire Survey

The methodology used will be survey approach.A set of questionnaire which consists short and straight forward questions related to the topic will be prepared to obtain necessary information to achieve the project objectives, the questionnaires shall be distributed or sent to the relevant manufacturer of bricks or contractor firm within Selangor and Kuala Lumpur area due to time and money constraints. Questionnaires aresuggested in this research, because it is economical and easier to analyse the data and achieve the research goals. At least 30 respondents are expected to express their views based on their experiences and knowledge regarding the recycling materials for bricks. In facts questionnaires will helps obtain certain degree of understanding and information which could not search from text or literature.


Second method will be conducted the face to face interview with the people who are familiar or experienced with these field of bricks production knowledge. Through this manner, the perception or their opinion in term of future growth in these new bricks would be evaluated.

Majority of the interviewees would be selected from the bricks manufactured factory located in Selangor or Kuala Lumpur state, supplier or engineer who are relevant will be considered.

The relevant information or professional view towards future issues can be gather through this method of interview session to achieve the objectives of this research. The ideal selections of company shall include at least 2 to 3 bricks manufactured factory or company.

1.7Dissertation Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Research

In this chapter, the research aim, objectives, hypothesis, dissertation content and research methodology will be presented. This chapter will also allow reader to know about the reason why this research is conducted and provide rough information about current situation of environment which facing depletion of natural resources hence overview available alternative eco friendly recycling material to substitute the original resources used to made bricks. This chapter will also give the outline of the approach in undertaking this project.

Chapter 2 -Alternative Recycling Materials for Bricks Production

In this chapter the review of literature relating to the research topic will be presented. Books, articles, internet sources and etc will serve as the sources of information. The purpose of literature review is to give an overview or review at least 3 types of the available alternative recycling material which is potential of bricks production in Malaysian construction industry. In accordance to that, the original traditional materials used to produce bricks and comparison in all aspect between both materials mentioned above will also highlight and fully describe in this chapter.

Chapter 3 -Potential Usage of Bricks with Alternative Recycling Materials

In this chapter, the review of the literature regarding the research topic shall focus on the problems and barriers encountered when alternative recycling materials are using to replace the traditional materials, it focus on how did it cause impact or influences the market in terms of demand and supply for both producers and consumers like suppliers and contractors, beside that, possible factor which able to encourage the bricks production and usage by using the new recycling material will also highlight and classified in this chapter.

Chapter 4 - Questionnaire Design

Questionnaire will be designed in a few sections based on research objectives and formulated based on literature review.Method of analysis and achievement of research object will also be discussed and to achieve in this chapter.

Chapter 5: Data Analysis and Result Discussions

After collecting the data from all possible parties of above, the results will be interpreted, analysed and presented in frequency distribution, bar chart, pie chart or histogram form and elaborate into detail.

Chapter 6: Conclusions & Recommendations

The overall results of the survey will be concluded and recommendations will be provided in this chapter.

Initial References

Ismail, S. and Yaacob, Z. 2010. 'Properties of bricks produced with recycled fine aggregate'. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology. 67, pp.878-882.

Safiudin, Md. and MohdZaminJumaat. 2010. 'Utilization of solid wastes in construction materials'. International Journal of the Physical Science. 5(13), pp.1952-1963.

Naganathan, S. and Subramaniam, N. and Nasharuddin Bin Mustapha, K. 2012. 'Development of brick using thermal power plant bottom ash and fly ash'. Asian Journal of Civil Engineering (Building and Housing). 13(1), pp.275-287.

Aubert JE, Husson ,Sarramone N. 2006. 'Utilization of municipal solid waste icineration fly ash in blended cement: Part1: Processing and characterization of MSWI fly ash'. J. Hazardous Mater. 136, pp.624-631

Project Plan and Schedule


Advanced Diploma Year 2 Sem 1













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Advanced Diploma Year 2 Sem 2

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Questionnaire or data collection approached by supervisor














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Sending out questionnaire (interview)














Conduct Questionnaire and interview














Analysis of questionnaire and interview














Preparation of final draft














Submission of final draft














Feedback from supervisor














Preparation of final thesis for submission














Completed and submission














Chapter 2 Alternative Recycling Materials for Bricks Production

2.1 Introduction

In this chapter, it will discuss and study into the commonly used which is conventional and traditional materials for bricks production in current construction industry, as according to Thomas (1996), currently in over the world, there got multiple types of choice in bricks manufactured from wide range of material, but yet in western world, bricks are usually produced by these common material such as fired clay, calcium silicate which known as sand lime and flint lime or concrete. Hence 3 types of commonly traditional material in term of properties and details will be highlighted in this chapter which is calcium silicate bricks, concrete bricks and clay bricks. Moreover, this chapter will also further discuss and look into several types of recycling materials which is potential for bricks production such as bottom ash and fly ash, recycled fine aggregates and sea sand and etc. In accordance to that, comparison in all aspect between the traditional and alternative recycling materials used to produce bricks will be discuss and describe in order to find out the difference in between their characteristic.

2.2 Conventional and traditional materials for bricks production

2.2.1 Clay Bricks

According to Yvonne (1996), she mentioned that these clay bricks are consider as one and only most efficient materials which has been widely used in terms of their energy consumption. Clay brick can be consider as the one of the type that are most commonly used bricks and application by contractors in construction industry nowadays, in Malaysia construction these type of clay bricks in term of usage and application has to be refer to BS 3921:1895. By referring regard with BS 3921:1895, the work size dimension of clay brick had been set to 215x102.5x65mm while coordination size is 225x112.5x75mm, work size is consider as the actual size of brick that should conform within specified permissible deviation while coordination size provide the meaning of the size of coordinating space allocated and specified to a brick including allowances for joints and tolerances (Horng 2010).

Clay bricks are mainly produced from the natural material which is fired clay that consist a wide range of different colour and textures. They can be manufactured in many different shapes, sizes and strengths, in fact in term of properties such as water absorption, suction rate and compressive strength also can be control and produce. These properties are determined mainly by the kiln, method of forming the bricks in specific shape whether by manually moulding or extrusion and also type of clay used (Thomas 1996). Basically there are three varieties of clay bricks available which are Common bricks, Facing bricks and Engineering bricks. According to Taylor (1994), common bricks are ordinary bricks which have no special claim and design to give an attractive good finished appearance and high strength, which in fact in general also consider as the cheapest bricks available. While for facing bricks are specially designed and made to give an attractive appearance which was free from imperfection that require extra rendering or plaster to the surface such as cracks. Whereas engineering bricks was consist the most highest density and well fire which are designed primarily with strong vitreous body for strength and durability, due to the more complicated process to produce these bricks hence it price also cost higher than the other types.

Figure 2.1: Common bricks

Common Brick - Product Code: Mbc2002Common Brick - Product Code: Mbc2011Common Brick - Product Code: Mbc2024Source: The Matching Brick Company (1991) , viewed 15 July 2012, <http://www.matchingbrick.co.uk/products.html#engineer>

Figure 2.2: Facing bricks

Stock Facing Brick - Product Code: Mbc4006Waterstruck Facing Brick - Product Code: Mbc5001Waterstruck Facing Brick - Product Code: Mbc5016Source: The Matching Brick Company (1991), viewed 15 July 2012, <http://www.matchingbrick.co.uk/products.html#engineer>

Figure 2.3: Engineering bricks

Engineering Brick - Product Code: Mbc1001 Engineering Brick - Product Code: Mbc1002 Engineering Brick - Product Code: Mbc1008Source: The Matching Brick Company (1991), viewed 15 July 2012, <http://www.matchingbrick.co.uk/products.html#engineer>

Manufacturing technique for the production of clay bricks have been evolving from initially which is by hand moulded processes to modern mechanization. At present according to Bas (1999), brick productions consist of five basic stages that can be found and allocate everywhere around the world, each of the operations are interdependent and brick will follow through these stages in a way designed specifically to suit raw material used and the final product. Figure 2.4 illustrate the main stages in clay brick manufacture.

Figure 2.4 General flow of materials in brick production Source: (Bas 1999, p. 5)

As show in Figure 2.4, the first stage is clay preparation, during this stage when clay are being digging out, it is prepare by crushing and mixing until uniform consistency and in order to make clay suitable for brick making, it must be mixed with water so that to increase plasticity, before it is transfer toward brick moulding machine, few day resting and left alone is necessary. Bricks moulding technique is designed to suit the moisture content of clay, bricks can either be moulding through hand or machine, normally the usually used method used to increase moisture content as stated by Taylor (1994) are semi-dry process, stiff plastic process, wire cut process and soft mud process. After moulding, the brick will undergo the second stages which is Drying stages, it is carried out to let the humidity or moisture content inside the bricks to run free or escape in order to prevent the wet brick cracks inside when temperature is rapidly increase during fire, in fact the process also enables and assist the firing temperature rises and increased smoothly without problem such gases and vapour are trapped within the bricks that are namely Bloating. Then following stage is pre-heating where the bricks are heated constantly but slowly mainly to avoid cracking, during the firing stages, the purpose is to let the brick increase in strength and decrease the soluble salt content by ensure localized melting sintering of the clay, there are 4 main processes which are clamps, continuous kilns and tunnel kilns. The last stage which is cooling stages, the bricks are stack and cooled down in kiln after fired, this stages is necessary because bricks can result in crack inside which will indirectly cause loss of strength when temperature is rapid rise and then rapidly cool down.

According to Richard and Kreh (1990), all properties of structural clay product such as brick are affected by the composition of the raw material use and the manufacturing process. The important properties are strength, durability, colour, texture and absorption. In fact, each brick used in construction are required to be tested first before proceed to the next stage in masonry construction.

Sadek and Roslan (2011) stated that compressive strength of brick is important as an indicator of masonry strength and indirectly brick strength become an important requirement in brickwork design. Strength is known as resistance of brick needed to increase in term of load when stress constantly appeared on it before it breaks. For the properties of durability of clay brick is much more likely to be a problem than its strength since in most situation, clay bricks are very much stronger than is required structurally (Taylor 1994). Colour and finished of the clay brick are determine by the chemical composition of natural clay and mineral which added to the natural clay, another factor that influences or affect it colour is depends on how well the temperature during firing being control in kiln clay burned period (Richard and Kreh 1990). Whereas for texture properties in bricks, it is the arrangement of particles of raw materials in brick such as hard and smooth finish should had fine finish or texture, normally many textures can be achieve or obtained during the stiff mud process. Lastly for absorption, it may be an important property of clay bricks, since bricks that have very low absorption are invariably of high durability, Richard and Kreh (1990) argues that the water content of bricks must be correct to obtain the best result from combining of brick and mortar to form a wall. It is frequently ignored and forgot in construction which indirectly cause the strength and durability of the wall are affected.

According to William (2001) Fire Bricks which is also one of the clay mould bricks which using the refractory clay to produce is consider as a special bricks which can withstand and resist much more higher of heat and temperature. The bricks are mainly application for builder to construct lining chimney shafts, boilers and kilns or for those work activities or building which require excessive resistance toward heat. Eeydzah (2010) mentioned that even though these bricks are much weaker, but compare to other the advantage is much lighter, easier to form and produce and also insulation properties is way much better than dense bricks.

2.2.2 Concrete Bricks

According to Hafiz (2010), the concrete bricks are usually and one of the most used in the construction industry as wall panel and partially drains. Concrete brick are produced from a controlled mixture of Portland cement and aggregates in sizes, colours, and proportions which are similar to clay bricks that can be served as a purpose of loadbearing or non load bearing (Beall 1993). Normally these concrete bricks production need to fulfill and comply with all the appropriate requirements as stated in BS6073: Part 2 1981 specification for precast concrete masonry unit (Thomas 1996).

Horng (2010) stated that the concrete is hardened by conventional water curing process or special compression method whereas BS 1180 mentioned that the minimum requirements and the classification of these types of bricks are common with sand-lime bricks. William (2001) stated there have another type of concrete brick which is different in term of material of production, instead of cement and sand, it is actually made with cement and furnace clinker or fly ash. These bricks are built into various positions in walling mainly to help and allow those especially internal housing decoration such as picture rails, skirting, serving hatches and door frame can be secured by using nailing and nailed into them. Normally the natural colour of concrete bricks are cement colour which is greyish, but nowadays pigments are allowable which then give a range of colour such as of brown and reds are produced (Yvonne 1996).

Taylor (1994) also mentioned that concrete bricks BS 6073 are relatively one of the concrete brick that are recently introduced, these bricks are comprising well compacted, low workability concrete mixes of appropriate aggregates size, leading to products of high strength and durability. In fact the properties such as colour and textures can be control which can give a final appearance very similar to clay bricks, and are most important are it is free from efflorescence but due to different movement characteristic, these type of bricks are suggested not to bond with other brick types as it will affect their structural strength and dulability.

2.2.3 Calcium Silicate (Sand-Lime) Bricks

According to Taylor (1994), these bricks are made by combine and blending the finely ground sand or flint and lime together uniformly in the approximate ratio of 10:1. After that the semi dry mixture is then pressed into mould in shape and cured in an autoclave for two or three hour to speed the chemical hardening. The finished of these bricks are quite natural and uniform, the colour of the bricks is darker when wet than when dry. Thomas (1996) specified that all these bricks requirements are required to comply to BS 187:1978.

Beall (1993) defines that calcium silicate brick are the most widely and extensively used by contractors in industrialized countries such as Europe, Russia, Australia and United States, the main reason is because the suitable siliceous sands are more readily available compare to clay in their country, in fact it has been broadly manufactured and produces in United States in the early year of 1900s. Taylor (1994) stated that the main properties of calcium silicate bricks are:

A high degree of regularity, with a choice of surface texture ranging from smooth to rustic.

A wide range of colour as pigment can be added which then available to produced various type of colour

Very low soluble salt content, hence is fine with efflorescence

Relatively higher moisture movement compare to other bricks

Compressive strength with range 7-50 N/mm2 (BS187)

Good overall durability in clean atmosphere, but they may deteriorate slowly in polluted sulphur containing atmosphere.

2.3 Recycling materials for bricks production

2.3.1 Bottom ash and fly ash

According to Safiuddin (2010), Fly ash (FA) and bottom ash (BA) are produces as a by-product from municipal solid waste incinerators and coal fuelled power stations, it is a highly dispersible powder which contain mainly aluminosilicare and derriferrous glassy spherical particle and irregularly shaped grains of amorphous clay, mullite quartz and unburned metamorphic fuel whereas BA consists of irregular particles that can be add up to 10-15mm in size. The chemical compositions of both ashes from same power plant are similar.

Fly ash which obtained from coal combustion is frequently used in add into concrete due to cost saving by substitute the material of portland cement, the pozzolanic properties of fly ash can improve the strength of concrete which can be found during curing at 38 Degree Celsius that it greatly accelerates its contribution to the strength of concrete (Orchard 1979). Lingling, Wei, Tao and Nanru (2005) found out that fly ash can actually improves the compressive strength of bricks and increase their resistant toward frost attack whereas Cicek and Tanriverdi (2007) also realized the positive effect of fly ash on the compressive strength of bricks during his studies research.

According to Kumar (2002), he clearly stated that sufficient strength which comply to the minimum requirement of bricks can be achieve in produce brick by using these fly ash hence it have potential to use as substitute of conventional clay bricks and blocks. Naganathan et al (2012) also defined that the strength of bricks increase with the increase in fly ash, in fact he conclude that bricks of good quality can be made by using bottom ash and fly ash whereby contributing to sustainable building. Figure 2.5 clearly illustrate that the evidence and application of both of fly ash and bottom ash in real construction, from here we tend to believe that both fly ash and bottom ash since years ago already is one of the waste materials that can be trusted and widely apply by other country to recycled and apply back to construction to produce various type of material such as bricks.

Figure 2.5: Application of waste material in real construction.

Souce : (Safiudin 2010, p. 1960)

According to Naganathan (2012), there got a lot of advantages of using bottom ash and fly ash in brick making, mainly can consuming large volume of waste which then indirectly reduced the environmental problem which cause by dumping these waste in landfill and ash pond, moreover it also help enhance the properties and performance of bricks, in fact it do contribute to sustainable development and assist developers to get green building index points.

2.3.2 Recycled fine aggregates

According to Ismail and Yaacob (2010), the initially and inventive use of recycled fine aggregates began and start at the end of World war II during the time when the nation of European fed problem in rubble material disposal. Which then the RILEM Technical Committee take an important steps of publishing in promoting the recycling aggregates which finally end up followed by several number of researchers around the world.

In the studies research of Ismail and Yaacob (2010), it stated that brick dimension is influenced by material content and the density of constituent materials, their study focus on average brick dimension which was calculate and evaluated from 10 samples each group regarding length, width, depth, area and volume. Figure 2.6 show the summarized of average brick dimension and clearly stated and summarized that bricks with recycled fine aggregates had an uniform size and surface area similar to bricks with conventional materials.

Figure 2.6 The dimensions of brick specimens

Source : (Ismail and Yaacob 2010, p. 880) Brick Density

The density of brick specimen was calculated by dividing the weight with volume. In figure 2.7 stated that the density of control bricks was 2032.3 kg/m3 which mean the result of the density for brick content 50% recycled fine aggregate slightly increase 1.7% if compared with control brick. Conclusion in the figure show average density of brick by using recycled fine aggregates are much lower compare to control brick, even the most lower can be observed in brick with 100% content of recycled aggregates which reduce 3.5 % ( Ismail and Yaacob 2010).

Figure 2.7 The average density of bricks with recycled fine aggregates

Source : (Ismail and Yaacob 2010, p. 880) Compressive strength

The compressive strength of a material determines its load carrying capacity before stress apply on it and become failure. British Standard Institution states that the compressive of bricks should not be less than 7N/mm2 (Ismail and Yaacob 2010). The figure 2.8 illustrated the detailed result of compressive strength of all bricks types

Figure 2.8 The average compressive strength of bricks with recycled fine aggregate

Source : (Ismail and Yaacob 2010, p. 881)

It can be seen from the figure, the result of compression strength of control brick is 12.32N/mm2 which mean the overall finding reveal that with additional of recycled fine aggregate can instantly increase the compressive strength. In the report, (Ismail and Yaacob) conclude that based on the test result, the bricks produced with recycled fine aggregates show positive result in each test and some even similar to brick with conventional natural material hence overall it can be utilized in brick mixture as good substitute for natural sand.

2.3.3 Sea Sand

According to Hafiz (2010), use of river sand in Malaysia is very widespread in construction industry, in order to protect the environment of river and prevent erosion or flooding, seas sand are suggested to be one of the substitutions to replace river sand. The composition of sand varies from place to place depends in the sources and condition of the local rocks. Sand is classified as a unique raw material for construction industry due to allocation for obtaining bulk loads of sand for construction work.

Sea sand has become a potential resource yet also consider as waste material which are capable to supply fine aggregates for domestic construction usage, in accordance to that, applications of sea sand is more economic by using river sand. Sea sand mostly contain more content of salinity or sodium chloride which may directly cause or affected the durability of structural if being ignored and without treated which then result in swilling, precipitation, sulfating and other adverse consequences. Hence precautions must be taken to eliminate to avoid unwanted hazard (Hafiz 2010). Rahman (2010) argues found out that sea sand contains significant "impurities" such as magnesium and sodium chlorides which lead to corrosion in iron, in fact in past research, sea sand is considered unsuitable for construction industry because of its small size and unless the chloride content that caused rusting is extract or reduced. Sieve Analysis Sea Sand

The sieve analysis of sea sand is to determine the gradation of sea sand such as the distribution of aggregates particles, by size within a given sample. There are many types of sieves depends on different sieve size. The figure 2.9 show the analysis of sea sand that use as concrete aggregate.

Figure 2.9 Average Granulometric Curve of typical sea sand used as concrete

Source: (Hafiz 2010, p. 8)

The figure show that percentage of passing sea sand to get 100% on sieve analysis and sieve size is quicker than other material. This happen due to sea sand is a fine aggregate that less retain in sieve size. As a basic material in brick mixture, a classification of aggregate is very important as it will affect the strength of brick, the advantages of this process ensure the size of apertures decrease in logarithmic fashion.

2.5 Summary

During current situation, enormous quantities of domestic, industrial and construction waste are generated annually throughout the country, instead disposing all of them, this research and chapter is actually give an further detail and look into several types of potential recycling material which able to used as substitution or replacement of natural resources in brick productions. After go through this chapter, it can be noticed that even though many alternative potential recycling waste solid has been introduced but yet the awareness of public toward scarcity of natural resources is still very low, it proved by most of the traditional material such clay brick, calcium silicate bricks and concrete bricks are still among the favourite choices of construction industry, bulk by bulk quantities of these material are being produced which indirectly caused depletion of related natural resources. This chapter not only showed many advantages such as avoid negative impact toward environment by using the recycling waste solid to produce bricks instead of dumping them in open fields,in fact it also prove that the result and properties of brick manufactured by recycling material is comparative, some even prove more better in term of economic and strength, so why still hesitate on the choice ?