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Construction and Building Materials 84 (2015) 444–453

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Construction and Building Materials


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/conbuildmat

Properties of self-compacting lightweight concrete containing recycled


plastic particles
Shutong Yang a,b,⇑, Xiaoqiang Yue a, Xiaosong Liu c, Yao Tong a
a
Department of Civil Engineering in College of Engineering, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266100, PR China
b
Collaborative Innovation Center of Engineering Construction and Safety in Blue Economic Zone, Qingdao 266033, PR China
c
Qingdao Shundafeng Industry and Trade Co., Ltd., Qingdao 266000, PR China

h i g h l i g h t s

 Recycled plastic particles are used in self-compacting lightweight concrete (SCLC).


 Workability of SCLC is improved by replacing sand by plastic particles.
 Strength of SCLC is increased by replacing sand by plastic particles.
 Denser plastic-paste interfacial zone is got with relatively low plastic content.

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: This work is aimed to study the effect of incorporating recycled modified polypropylene (PP) plastic
Received 15 December 2014 particles on the workability and mechanical behavior of self-compacting lightweight concrete (SCLC).
Received in revised form 16 February 2015 Four replacement levels (10%, 15%, 20% and 30%) of sand by plastic by volume were introduced. The
Accepted 4 March 2015
slump flow value is improved with an increase in the sand substitution. The viscosity of fresh SCLC is
reduced and the passing ability is improved with the replacement level up to 15%. Both the dry bulk
density and elastic modulus of SCLC decrease with an increase in sand replacement. The compressive
Keywords:
strength, splitting tensile strength and flexural tensile strength are increased with the replacement level
Recycled plastic
Self-compacting lightweight concrete
up to 15%. A microscopic study on the plastic-paste interface was performed.
Workability Ó 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Mechanical properties
Plastic-paste interface

1. Introduction used to produce unsaturated polyester resin for polymer concrete


or mortar [1–8] which has better performance than the concrete
As one of the greatest inventions in 20th century, plastic has or mortar made of Portland cement. The use of recycled PET in
brought huge benefit in human life. Numerous plastic products resin can reduce the cost of polymer concrete or mortar, alleviate
are being consumed with the development of society. However, an environmental problem and save energy [1,2]. Although the
large amounts of plastic waste give much pressure on the environ- polymer concrete may experience a loss in strength at high tem-
ment due to the very low biodegradability of plastic. It is necessary perature, it is still stronger than Portland cement concrete [3].
to develop a rational approach for the waste disposal indicating Jo et al. [5] concluded that the polymer concrete is more durable.
both the economy and environmental protection. Rebeiz et al. studied flexural properties [9,10] and shear behavior
Recycling plastic waste in cementitious materials is one of the [11] of steel reinforced polymer concrete made with recycled
best ways. The kinds of recycled plastic often include polyethylene plastic waste to ensure the structural use in practice. Moreover,
terephthalate (PET), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene, melamine, the recycled plastic can be used to produce fibers to improve the
polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethane foam, polycarbonate (PC), ductility of concrete. The tensile strength and flexural tensile
glass fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP), etc. PET plastic waste can be strength of the fiber-reinforced concrete based on plastic waste
are increased [12–14], and the permeability and shrinkage are
reduced [13,15].
⇑ Corresponding author at: College of Engineering in Ocean University of China,
238 Songling Road in Qingdao, PR China. Tel.: +86 532 66781548; fax: +86 532
Another economic and effective way of disposal is grinding
66781550. plastic waste into small particles to replace fine or coarse aggre-
E-mail address: shutongyang2013@163.com (S. Yang). gates in concrete mixing. As the content of aggregate replacement

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2015.03.038
0950-0618/Ó 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
S. Yang et al. / Construction and Building Materials 84 (2015) 444–453 445

Table 1
The physical properties of cement.

SO3 MgO Loss in Chloride ion Alkali Initial setting Final setting time 3-Day compressive 28-Day compressive
(%) (%) ignition (%) content (%) content (%) time (min) (min) strength (MPa) strength (MPa)
2.01 1.80 2.15 0.019 0.56 185 295 P10 P32.5

increases, the density and elastic modulus of concrete or mortar in concrete mixing on the flowability, passing ability, uniformity of
are apparently reduced [16–23]. As for the mechanical properties, lightweight coarse aggregate distribution and mechanical proper-
the compressive strength, splitting tensile strength and flexural ties of SCLC. Different from previous studies, the kind of plastic
tensile strength decrease with an increase in plastic content particles in this paper is modified polypropylene (PP) which is from
[16–26] mainly due to the mismatch properties between plastic waste industrial plastic floor boards or waste car bumpers. The
particles and cement paste [19]. For plastic with non-absorption mechanical performance of modified PP is improved and it may
properties, internal bleeding water would accumulate and sur- be beneficial to the strength of concrete containing this kind of
round the plastic particles resulting in a relatively weak bond plastic particles.
between the particles and cement paste [22]. Moreover, elongated
or flaky particles can provide a bridging action in concrete sub- 2. Experimental program
jected to bending and then the toughness behavior is improved
[17,21,23,27]. The workability of fresh concrete also depends on 2.1. Materials used

the shape of plastic particles. If the particles have sharp edges, Cement used in the experiment is No. 32.5 composite Portland cement (Chinese
the slump value is reduced [26,28]. The fluidity becomes better standard GB 175 [41]). The physical properties of cement are seen in Table 1. Ultra-
with the introduction of particles which have spherical edges fine fly ash was used to improve the flowability of SCLC with the physical properties
[26]. The durability is found to be much related to the kind of in Table 2. Fine aggregates were river sands with fineness module of 2.75 and bulk
density of 1360 kg/m3. Expanded clay ceramsite was used as coarse aggregate as
plastic. The resistance of chloride ion penetrability is improved
shown in Fig. 1. The bulk density of the coarse aggregate is 399 kg/m3 and the water
for concrete containing PVC particles due to the impervious prop- absorption is 16.2%. The particle size distributions of both sand and expanded clay
erties of PVC [19]. However, the chloride diffusivity coefficient of ceramsite are shown in Fig. 2. Admixture was Sica 3301 polycarboxylate-based
the concrete containing pre-wetted polyurethane aggregate is high-range water reducer (HRWR).
apparently higher than that of the conventional concrete [29]. Plastic particles in the test are modified PP plastic which is recycled and pro-
vided by Qingdao Shundafeng Industry and Trade Co., Ltd. The recycled modified
It is observed that previous studies are mainly aimed at the PP plastic was ground into small particles and rinsed. Then they were treated to
properties of plastic waste as aggregate substitution in ordinary
concrete. The work related to self-compacting concrete or mortar
containing plastic particles is relatively few. Safi et al. [30] intro- Table 2
duced waste PET particles as sand substitution in self-compacting The physical properties of fly ash.
mortar mixing. They stated that the slump value is significantly SO3 Loss in Percentage retained Water Water
improved by incorporating the plastic particles but the compres- (%) ignition (%) on 45 lm sieve (%) requirement (%) content (%)
sive strength is apparently reduced with an increase in plastic con- 1.2 4.2 9 73 0.3
tent [30]. No literature is found about the effect of plastic waste on
properties of self-compacting concrete. Moreover, self-compacting
lightweight concrete (SCLC) has been gradually applied in practical
engineering particularly in large-span bridge structures due to the
light self-weight, ease of construction, lower on-site noise level,
etc. Coarse aggregates used in SCLC often include expanded shale
[31], expanded clay ceramsite [32], pumice [33], expanded
polystyrene [34], etc. All the coarse aggregates are so light that
they may float in the cement paste. High fluidity is demanded for
SCLC, and hence the plasticity and viscosity of fresh paste should
be reduced. Then the possibility of segregation is increased. It is
crucial to design a rational mix proportion on SCLC. Shi and Wu
[31] first provided a design procedure by combing the least void
volume for a binary aggregate mixture, excessive paste theory,
and ACI standard practice for selecting proportions for structural
lightweight concrete. Glass powders and fly ash are added to
increase the flowability and segregation resistance of the SCLC
[31]. Workability is very important for SCLC [35]. Slump flow test
and V-funnel test are usually performed to determine the fluidity
of SCLC, and L-box test and J-ring test can be used to evaluate
the ability of passing through steel bars [31–40]. Moreover, sieve
segregation and settlement column tests are conducted to evaluate
the segregation resistance of SCLC [36]. The binder content should
be larger than that in ordinary concrete. An increase in binder con-
tent can improve the filling and passing abilities of SCLC [37].
Incorporation of plastic particles in SCLC as aggregate replace-
ment can further reduce the material density. Therefore, the influ-
ence of plastic particles on the workability and mechanical
properties of SCLC deserves to be studied. The intention of this
paper is to study the effect of plastic particles as sand substitution Fig. 1. Expanded clay ceramsite.
446 S. Yang et al. / Construction and Building Materials 84 (2015) 444–453

In Table 3, the number after the alphabet P in the title of each mix proportion
represents the replacement level (%) of the sand by the plastic particles.

2.3. Workability test

2.3.1. Slump flow test


A slump cone and a steel plate with scales were used to evaluate the slump flow
of SCLC. In the test, fresh concrete was filled into the slump cone without vibration.
Then the cone was lifted up vertically and steadily within 10 s. The final slump flow
diameter was measured. Moreover, the time T500 to spread to the scale of 500 mm
in diameter in the steel plate was recorded.
Fig. 4 shows the spreading fresh SCLC. To evaluate the slump loss, the slump
flow diameters at 10 min and 30 min were also measured.

2.3.2. J-Ring test


The J-ring test can be used in combination with the slump flow test to evaluate
the ability of passing through steel bars of self-compacting concrete [43]. The differ-
ence between the flow diameters in the two tests was measured and denoted as PA.
The value of PA should not exceed 50 mm for the concrete to achieve sufficient flow
through the steel bars [43]. The J-ring consists of a steel circular ring and 16 round
steel rods with 16 mm in diameter and 100 mm in height. Then the 16 rods were
welded on the circular ring with equal spacing as shown in Fig. 5. It conforms to
Fig. 2. Size distributions of aggregates and plastic particles. the German SCC guideline [44].

2.3.3. Column segregation test


In this study, the uniformity of lightweight coarse aggregate distribution is
evaluated by column segregation test [35,45] which has a steel circular column
consisting of four short sections with diameters of 200 mm and heights of
165 mm as shown in Fig. 6. The fresh concrete was filled in the column and left
to rest for 15 min. Then the four samples were removed one by one from the top
and the mortar was washed out on a 5 mm sieve [45]. Thus, the mass of coarse
aggregate in each short column can be weighted and the ratio of the coarse aggre-
gate content in each column to the total mass of coarse aggregate is determined.
The coefficient of variation, denoted as the aggregate segregation index Iseg [45],
can be calculated based on the four ratios and used to evaluate the uniformity of
the coarse aggregate distribution.

2.4. Test of mechanical properties

2.4.1. Compressive strength


Cubic specimens with dimensions of 150  150  150 mm3 were used to
determine the 7-Day and 28-Day compressive strengths for each mix proportion
according to Chinese Standard GB/T 50081-2002 [46]. The test was carried out
using an electro-hydraulic compression testing machine with maximum range of
2000 kN as shown in Fig. 7.
Fig. 3. Plastic particles in the test.
2.4.2. Splitting tensile strength
Cubic specimens with dimensions of 150  150  150 mm3 were used to deter-
mine the 7-Day and 28-Day splitting tensile strength for each mix proportion
short columns with lengths from 1.5 mm to 4 mm, apparent density of 950 kg/m3
according to Chinese Standard GB/T 50081-2002 [46]. All the specimens were
and bulk density of 515 kg/m3 as shown in Fig. 3. The size distribution of plastic
tested using a hydraulic compression testing machine with maximum range of
particles is seen in Fig. 2.
600 kN as shown in Fig. 8.

2.2. Mix proportions


2.4.3. Flexural tensile strength
The main objective of this paper is to study the influence of incorporating The fresh SCLC was cast into beams with dimensions of 150  150  550 mm3.
plastic particles on the workability and mechanical properties of SCLC. Therefore, According to Chinese Standard GB/T 50081-2002 [46], four-point bending test was
only one mix proportion is presented for the SCLC having no plastic by combining carried out on the beams using a hydraulic testing machine with a capacity of
the overall calculation method [35,42] with proper adjustments. The total binder 300 kN to determine the flexural tensile strength of the SCLC at 28 days. The test
(cement + fly ash) content is 523 kg/m3 which approaches the mass of binder setup is shown in Fig. 9.
(550 kg/m3) proposed by Gesoğlu et al. [40]. The incorporations of fly ash and
HRWR are 30% and 0.1% of the binder content, respectively. The detailed mix pro- 2.4.4. Elastic modulus
portion for the SCLC is shown in Table 3. The plastic particles were incorporated The specimens for determining elastic modulus were prismatic samples with
by replacing 10%, 15%, 20% and 30% of the sand by volume, respectively. Then four sizes of 150  150  300 mm3 according to Chinese Standard GB/T 50081-2002
additional mix proportions of SCLC containing plastic particles are seen in Table 3. [46]. Two strain gauges were adhered on the parallel lateral surfaces in the
Moreover, the lightweight aggregates (expanded clay ceramsite) cannot be directly longitudinal direction of each prismatic specimen. Besides, other two strain gauges
used for concrete mixing unless they were immersed in water for 24 h. were adhered on the referred lateral surfaces but perpendicular to the longitudinal

Table 3
Mix proportions.

Nos. Cement (kg/m3) Fly ash (kg/m3) Water (kg/m3) Lightweight aggregates (kg/m3) Fine aggregates (kg/m3) Plastic particles (kg/m3) HRWR (kg/m3)
P0 369 154 133.3 300 703 0 5.3
P10 369 154 133.3 300 633 26.2 5.3
P15 369 154 133.3 300 602 41.8 5.3
P20 369 154 133.3 300 570 52.3 5.3
P30 369 154 133.3 300 495 78.5 5.3
S. Yang et al. / Construction and Building Materials 84 (2015) 444–453 447

Fig. 4. Slump flow test.

Fig. 5. J-Ring test.

strain gauges. All the gauges were connected with a static data acquisition system absorption should be used in the future work on SCLC. But the
as shown in Fig. 10. The test was carried out with a hydraulic compression testing
slump flow diameter increases with the replacement level.
machine having a capacity of 1000 kN.
The slump loss at 10 min and 30 min is significantly reduced as
the replacement level increases. The SCLC containing plastic
3. Results and discussions particles satisfy the requirements for SF2 SCC which is suitable
for many normal applications [36]. It is attributed to the non-
3.1. Slump flow test absorptive characteristic of the modified PP plastic resulting in
more free water in concrete mixes as presented by Al-Manaseer
Fig. 11 shows the variation of the slump flow diameter with and Dalal [47]. The fluidity is then improved with an increase in
the replacement level of sand by plastic particles at 0 min, free water content. But excessive accumulation of free water
10 min and 30 min. The value for the SCLC containing no plastic may cause bleeding. The tendency of slight bleeding has been
is 550 mm which only satisfies the lowest level of requirements observed in mixing SCLC with sand substitution of 30%. Thus,
for SF1 SCC [36]. It is mainly because some of the coarse aggre- the ratio of water to binder and water content should be adjusted
gates used in the test have elongated shapes as shown in Fig. 1 if more sand is replaced by the plastic particles.
which may have negative effect on the fluidity of fresh SCLC. It has been mentioned that T500 can be used to evaluate the
Moreover, relatively high water absorption (16.2%) reduces the viscosity of fresh concrete [36]. It should not be too long or
retaining of slump flow and then apparent slump loss is observed too short. The effect of plastic content on the T500 is shown in
in Fig. 11. Spherical lightweight coarse aggregate with low water Fig. 12.
448 S. Yang et al. / Construction and Building Materials 84 (2015) 444–453

tests, and is used to evaluate the passing ability of SCLC. Then the
variation of the PA value with the plastic content is seen in Fig. 13.
The passing ability is relatively weak for the SCLC containing no
plastic particles. The PA value (55 mm) is slightly larger than the
requirement (50 mm) by the literature [43,44]. It is mainly induced
by the elongated shapes of the coarse aggregate. As the plastic
content increases, however, the passing ability is significantly
improved. All the PA values are lower than 50 mm. The lowest
value is reached when the replacement level is 10% and 15%. It
can be concluded that good fluidity can achieve improved passing
ability. When the replacement level is larger than 20%, the ten-
dency of bleeding gradually appears and the passing ability is then
weakened.

3.3. Column segregation test

The coarse aggregate segregation can be evaluated based on the


aggregate segregation index Iseg [45] which is the coefficient of
variation calculated from the ratios of coarse aggregate in the four
short columns. The influence of incorporating plastic particles on
the uniformity of coarse aggregate distribution is analyzed in this
subject. Fig. 14 shows the variation of the Iseg with the sand sub-
stitution. It can be seen that the uniformity of the lightweight
aggregate distribution is achieved for all groups of SCLC. The plastic
incorporation has marginal effect on the coarse aggregation
distribution.

3.4. Dry density

Fig. 15 shows the dry density of the SCLC varying with the
plastic content. The dry density considerably decreases with the
Fig. 6. Column segregation test. sand replacement content as observed by other researchers
[16–23,30]. It is attributed to the lower density of plastic particles
It can be seen from Fig. 12 that the viscosity is reduced as the compared to sand. When 30% of the fine aggregate was replaced by
sand substitution increases. It is attributed to the non-absorption the plastic, the density is reduced up to 15%. Therefore, incorporat-
behavior of the plastic as explained earlier. The T500 attains the ing plastic particles can further reduce the dry density of SCLC.
minimum when 15% of the sand is replaced by the plastic particles
by volume. As the plastic content increases further, however, the
3.5. Compressive strength
T500 becomes longer due to the short-column shapes of the parti-
cles which have negative effect on the velocity of flow of fresh
The cubic compressive strength at 7-Day and 28-Day for all
SCLC. When the replacement level is bigger than 30%, the T500 is
groups of SCLC is shown in Fig. 16. The 28-Day compressive
probably reduced but significant bleeding would be observed.
strength of SCLC containing no plastic is 25.1 MPa which satisfies
the requirements for structural lightweight aggregate concrete
3.2. J-ring test (>17 MPa) [48]. In fact, the 28-Day compressive strength of con-
crete should be larger than 30 MPa for most of normal structures.
According to the literature [43,44], the PA value represents the But the present study is only aimed at the influence of plastic
difference between the flow diameters in the slump flow and J-ring incorporation on mechanical properties of SCLC. Thus, the value

Fig. 7. Test of compressive strength.


S. Yang et al. / Construction and Building Materials 84 (2015) 444–453 449

Fig. 8. Test of splitting tensile strength.

Fig. 9. Test of flexural tensile strength.

of compressive strength is not crucial. Moreover, the resulting


strength (<30 MPa) is mainly caused by the low strength of
expanded clay ceramsite compared to other lightweight aggregate
such as expanded shale.
Previous studies [16–26] show that the compressive strength
decreases with an increase in the incorporation of plastic waste
(PET, PP, polyethylene, melamine, PVC, polyurethane foam, PC,
etc). The modified PP plastic particles used in the test are recycled
from waste industrial plastic floor boards or waste car bumpers
which should have high strength and abrasion resistance.

Fig. 10. Test of elastic modulus. Fig. 11. Variation of slump flow diameter with plastic content.
450 S. Yang et al. / Construction and Building Materials 84 (2015) 444–453

maximum when the replacement level is 15%. As the sand


substitution content increases further, the strength gradually
decreases due to the weakened interface between the plastic and
cement paste.
A fractured surface is shown in Fig. 18 where parts of the plastic
particles are marked with small circles. The coarse aggregate and
plastic particles distribute uniformly in the section. Moreover, all
the coarse aggregates are fractured finally, and most of the plastic
particles are pulled out from the cement paste.

3.7. Flexural tensile strength

The tendency of 28-Day flexural tensile strength varying with


sand replacement content is similar to that of the compressive
strength and splitting tensile strength as shown in Fig. 19. As
the plastic content increases, the flexural tensile strength is
apparently improved up to a ceiling value at the replacement
level of 15%. Then the value is gradually reduced due to the mis-
match properties between the plastic and cement paste. But no
Fig. 12. Variation of T500 with plastic content.
obvious reduction is observed up to the level of 30%.
Moreover, the plastic particles with short-column shapes behave
like short fibers in the concrete. Therefore, the ductility of the
Incorporation of such recycled plastic may be helpful to the four-point bending beam is found to be slightly improved with
mechanical properties of concrete. It can be confirmed from an increase in plastic content as mentioned by other researchers
Fig. 16 that the compressive strength of SCLC is improved when [17,21,23,27].
the replacement level is lower than 20%. Maximum strength is Reduction in the strength of concrete containing plastic is
reached when 15% of the sand is replaced by the plastic. It means induced by the weak interfacial bonding between the plastic
the plastic particles can be filled in some of the voids in concrete and cement paste to a large extent [16–26]. When the plastic
more effectively if the plastic content is relatively low. When the content is relatively low, the compressive strength, splitting ten-
replacement level is larger than 20%, however, more free water sile strength and flexural tensile strength is improved compared
would exude around the particles as discussed earlier. Thus, the to the concrete without plastic. The maximum strengths can be
plastic-paste interface may be weakened and the compressive obtained if 15% of the sand is replaced by the modified PP plas-
strength is reduced due to the mismatch properties between the tic particles by volume. The interfacial properties between the
plastic and binder. But the reduced value of strength is insignifi- cement paste and modified PP plastic should be studied at
cant with the substitution level up to 30%. microscopic level particularly when the replacement level is
under 20%. Thus, a test was conducted by scanning electro
3.6. Splitting tensile strength microscope (SEM) and the micro-structure of the plastic-paste
interface is shown in Fig. 20. When the replacement level is
The effect of plastic content on the splitting tensile strength of 15%, there is hardly distinct boundary between the plastic parti-
SCLC is seen in Fig. 17. The variation is very similar to that of cle and cement paste as shown in Fig. 20(a). The interface is
compressive strength. The short-column plastic particles help to dense enough with a relatively good adhesion between the plas-
provide a bridging action in the fractured surface. Thus, the tic and binder, and then improved strength can be achieved. As
7-Day and 28-Day splitting tensile strengths are improved to the the plastic content increases, more free water around the

Fig. 13. Variation of PA value with plastic content. Fig. 14. Variation of Iseg with plastic content.
S. Yang et al. / Construction and Building Materials 84 (2015) 444–453 451

Fig. 15. Variation of dry density with plastic content.

Fig. 18. Fractured surface in the test.

Fig. 16. Variation of compressive strength with plastic content.

Fig. 19. Variation of flexural tensile strength with plastic content.

particles weakens the plastic-paste interface resulting in a less


dense zone with large voids and a relatively poor adhesion as
shown in Fig. 20(b). It is the reason why the strength is appar-
ently reduced if the replacement level is larger than 20%.

3.8. Elastic modulus and Poisson’s ratio

The sand replacement level of 15% by the plastic is found to be


optimum according to both the workability and mechanical
properties of SCLC. Thus, this section is only aimed at the SCLC with
Fig. 17. Variation of splitting tensile strength with plastic content. the 15% sand substitution and the SCLC without plastic. The
452 S. Yang et al. / Construction and Building Materials 84 (2015) 444–453

3.9. Discussion on the shapes and sizes of plastic particles

The ground plastics in this study were used as aggregates


in concrete. Therefore, the shapes of the particles would have
significant effect on the workability and mechanical properties of
concrete. If the particles have sharp edges, both the workability
and strength are reduced [26,28]. Elongated or flaky particles can
provide a bridging action in concrete subjected to tension and then
the toughness behavior is improved [17,21,23,27]. Therefore,
spherical edges [24] or columnar shapes should be adopted. In
the present study, the recycled modified PP plastic was rinsed,
melted and wiredrawn. It was then ground into short columns
with lengths from 1.5 mm to 4 mm as shown in Fig. 3. Thus, the
stress intensity at the plastic-paste interface can be avoided
because the particles have no sharp shape. Additionally, the short
columnar particles can also provide a bridging action in concrete
and the toughness is then improved.
Most of the fine aggregates have the sizes between 0.3 mm and
2 mm. The lengths of the plastic particles are apparently larger
than those of the sands, which are mainly between 2.5 mm and
4 mm. The variation of the coarse aggregate’s size is basically from
5 mm to 16 mm. Thus, a continuous gradation is formed among the
three types of aggregates. Therefore, the plastic particles can be
filled in the voids between the coarse aggregates more effectively
if the plastic content is relatively low. The mechanical behavior is
then improved.

4. Conclusions

The present study is aimed at the effect of incorporating recycled


modified polypropylene (PP) plastic particles on the workability and
mechanical behavior of self-compacting lightweight concrete
(SCLC). Four incorporation contents of plastic particles were intro-
Fig. 20. Micro-structure of plastic-binder interface by SEM: (a) Replacement level
of 15%; (b) Replacement level of 30%.
duced and replace 10%, 15%, 20% and 30% of sand by volume, respec-
tively. The conclusions are summarized as follows.

1. The slump flow value is improved with an increase in the plastic


content and the slump loss is reduced. But when the replacement
level attains 30%, the fresh concrete has a tendency of bleeding.
Thus, the ratio of water to binder and water content should be
adjusted if more sand is replaced by the plastic particles.
2. The viscosity of SCLC is reduced with the increasing of the sand
replacement level up to 15%. As the plastic content increases
further, the T500 becomes longer due to the short-column
shapes of the particles.
3. When the percentage of sand replacement by plastic is rela-
tively low, the ability of passing through steel bars is improved.
But the passing ability is reduced if the replacement level is
larger than 20% due to the tendency of bleeding.
4. The incorporation of plastic particles seems to have no effect on
the uniformity of lightweight coarse aggregate distribution.
5. Both the dry bulk density and elastic modulus of SCLC decrease
with an increase in the sand replacement.
6. The compressive strength, splitting tensile strength and flexural
tensile strength of SCLC are improved with the increasing of
plastic contents until the sand substitution level goes up to
Fig. 21. Variation of elastic modulus with plastic content. 15%. Then the strengths show a descending tendency because
more free water exudes and weakens the interfacial bonding
between the plastic and cement paste.
comparison of the elastic modulus is shown in Fig. 21. Obviously,
the elastic modulus is apparently reduced for the SCLC containing Acknowledgements
plastic particles. It shows an agreement with the result by other
researchers [16–23]. Moreover, the Poisson ratio of the SCLC with The authors gratefully acknowledge funding from the National
15% sand replacement is 0.25 which is larger than that of the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant 51378481) and Basic
SCLC containing no plastic (0.195). Research for Application of Qingdao (Grant 13-1-4-250-jch).
S. Yang et al. / Construction and Building Materials 84 (2015) 444–453 453

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