Research out of the University of Technology, Sydney has found a new, environmentally friendly way to strengthen soil, so as to make it suitable for the construction of infrastructure such as highways, railways and ports.
The new method uses recycled carpet, instead of the usual cement, to help limit the instability of soils used in construction. Continual shrinkage and expansion of these soils can create cracks in the foundations of many projects, and have been estimated to cause up to $100 million in damages in Australia. Every year some 30,000 Australian homes are affected by soil expansion cycles.
With a large portion of the roughly 15 tonnes of industrial and construction waste being put into landfill each year comprising of carpet, it made sense to try and solve two environmental issues in one go.
Project leader, Dr Behzad Fatahi, and the team from the UTS Geomechanics Research group found that they could halve the amount of cement needed to stabilise the soils by adding just 1% recycled carpet fibres.
The findings have great potential to reduce the costs of both soil and waste management in the future, particularly if supported by proper investment in the future.
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[img source] University of Technology Sydney