Algerian and Malaysian Researchers make bricks from waste, desert sand

algeria brick.

Using waste materials to make bricks conserves resources. Flickr/N.J.

Our friends Olive Ventures shared this great story about researchers that discovered how using waste materials and sand as components of the bricks rather than clay or shale, conserves resources and maintains the soil quality needed for sustainable agriculture development. Traditional brick manufacturing uses high pressure or firing in a kiln to shape the bricks. The scientists formed the bricks within moulds without applying pressure, reducing costs and simplifying the brick-making process.

Malaysian scientists at the Tenaga National University have produced prototype bricks using waste from the mining, coal and steel industries. They mixed the materials — including quarry dust, the iron oxide that forms on steel during production, and ash from furnaces — with cement and water.

Elsewhere, Algerian scientists at the University of Kasdi Merbah and the Polytechnic School of Algiers have also developed and produced prototype bricks. Theirs are made from concrete made from desert sand, and are strong, and provide good heat and sound insulation.

According to the scientists, whose findings are published in the April edition of Construction and Building Materials, the new bricks have a variety of promising properties, including resistance to corrosion and compression. It is important to take into account the chemical reactions that may occur when the bricks swell upon coming into contact with moisture. If they pass national building codes, these bricks could help solve housing problems. According to UN Habitat, 40.3% of Africans still live in slums.

Link to abstract in Construction and Building Materials
Link to abstract in ArabianJournalforScienceandEngineering

Full story: Researchers Make Bricks from Waste, Desert Sand

Published on 9 April 2013 by Wagdy Sawahel