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KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering (2013) 17(7):1708-1713 Copyright 2013 Korean Society of Civil Engineers DOI 10.1007/s12205-013-1241-9

Structural Engineering
Structural Engineering

pISSN 1226-7988, eISSN 1976-3808

www.springer.com/12205

Palm Oil Fuel Ash: Promising Supplementary Cementing Materials

S. O. Bamaga*, M. W. Hussin**, and Mohamed A. Ismail***

Received September 4, 2011/Revised April 10, 2012/Accepted January 31, 2013

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Abstract

Palm Oil Fuel Ash (POFA) is by-product obtained by burning of fibers, shells and empty fruit bunches as fuel in palm oil mill boilers. In this investigation, three ashes were collected from different palm oil mills around Malaysia and namely CAPOFA, ALPOFA and KTPOFA. The ashes were ground to 45 µm before replace 20% by weight of cement in concrete and mortar. The compressive strength of concretes containing POFA was tested at ages of 7, 28 and 90 days. For durability aspects, concretes and mortars were prepared to investigate the chloride and sulfate resistance respectively in accordance with appropriate ASTM standards. Rapid Chloride Penetration Test (RCPT) was conducted in accordance with ASTM C1202 to investigate the ability of concretes containing POFA to resist the penetration of chloride ions. Change in length and microstructure study for mortar bars containing POFA immersed in sodium sulfate were conducted to evaluate the effects of sulfate attack on POFA mortars. Concrete and mortar specimens were prepared using plain portland cement in order to use as control specimens. At age of 90 days, the results of compressive strength of all POFA concretes were higher than control concrete. All concretes containing POFA showed higher potential to resist chloride ions penetration compared to control concrete. All mortar bars containing POFA showed lower expansion and less porous structure than control mortar. Depending on the results of this investigation, it could be concluded that POFA could be successfully used as supplementary cementing materials to replace 20% of cement in concrete and mortar.

Keywords: palm oil fuel ash, pofa, compressive strength, chloride resistance, sulfate resistance, rcpt test, supplementary cementing materials

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1. Introduction

The cement industry consumes about 12-15% of the total industrial energy use (Ali et al., 2011). Because of burning of coal, fossil fuels, fuel oils and petroleum coke in a cement manufacturing process to produce energy and maintain the temperature as high as 1450 C in a kiln (Ali et al., 2011; Popescu et al., 2003), approximately of 0.97 tone of CO 2 is produced for each tone of clinker produced (Anand et al., 2006), therefore; the cement production process is classified as the second biggest source that is responsible for 6.97% of CO 2 emission in the world (Metz et al., 2005). One approach to reduce the energy used in cement industry and then CO 2 emission is to substitute high lime by low lime cement (Popescu et al., 2003). Alternatively, replacing fossil fuels with wastes which may be considered as ‘carbon neutral’ and increasing the use of additives was led to substantially reduction in energy and emissions of CO 2 (Barker et al., 2009). The need to reduce the CO 2 emission caused by cement production processes is increased due to the concerns of global warming and climate changes but the use of such previous

techniques to reduce CO 2 emission become limited (Barker et al., 2009). One of the alternative significant approach to reduce CO 2 emission and conserve the natural energy sources is the use of waste materials as Supplementary Cementing Materials (SCM) to replace part of cement in concrete and mortar. It was proven that the strength and durability of concrete and mortar containing some waste materials such as silica fume, fly ash, Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag (GGBS), rice husk ash, Metakaolin and others are improved (Mehta, 1982; Toutanji and El-Korchi, 1995; Shannag and Shaia, 2003; Poon et al., 2006; Wang et al., 2008). Palm oil is one of the most important agro industries in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. For example, Malaysia is considered as the largest exporter by around 47% of world exports of palm oil. Palm Oil Fuel Ash (POFA) is by product obtained by burning of palm oil fibers, empty fruit bunches and shells as fuel in palm oil mill boilers. Usually, about 85% fibers, 15% shells and empty fruit bunches are burned in boiler under temperature of about 900-1000°C to produce energy for extracting process of crude palm oil. Waste ash of about 5% is

*Researcher, Construction Research Centre (UTM-CRC), Faculty of Civil Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia (Corresponding Author, E-mail: soabamaga@gmail.com) **Professor, Construction Research Centre (UTM-CRC), Faculty of Civil Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia (E-mail:

warid@utm.my) ***Professor, Construction Research Centre (UTM-CRC), Faculty of Civil Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia (E-mail:

m.elgelany@gmail.com)

KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering (2013) 17(7):1708-1713 Copyright ⓒ 2013 Korean Society of Civil Engineers DOI

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KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering (2013) 17(7):1708-1713 Copyright ⓒ 2013 Korean Society of Civil Engineers DOI

Palm Oil Fuel Ash: Promising Supplementary Cementing Materials

obtained and then disposed of to open fields causing traffic hazard besides potential of health hazard leading to bronchi and lung diseases (Tay and Show, 1995). As a solution to these problems, many researchers have well investigated the feasibility of using palm oil fuel ash as replacement materials in concrete mixes. Tay (1990) had investigated the feasibility of using shell and fiber palm oil ash as cement replacement materials. The results showed that shell and fiber ash can be blended in small amounts (up to 10%) with cement for concrete making. Five years later, Tay and Show (1995) had conducted a study on the use of oil-palm bunch ash as a partial replacement material for Portland cement. The authors concluded that the oil-palm bunch ash can be used as cement replacement materials in small amounts (Up to 10%) without detrimental effects on long-term strength property. Jaturapitakkul et al. (2007), Weerachart et al. (2007), Rukzon and Chindaprasirt (2009) and Weerachart et al. (2009) have studied the compressive strength and durability of concrete and mortar. Their studies have revealed that the compressive strength and sulfate resistance are improved when ground palm oil fuel ash is partially replaced cement in concrete or mortar mixes. Chindaprasirt et al. (2008) studied the ability of POFA mortar to resist the chloride ions penetration, the results showed that the resistance to chloride penetration of POFA mortar was substantially improved. All researchers attributed the improvements in POFA mortar and concrete behaviour to the pozzolanic reaction where the hydration products react with the silica contained in POFA resulting in highly dense and impermeable matrix, also, the researchers found that the improvements in strength and sulfate resistance properties are proportional with the fineness of ash. In this research, compressive strength, chloride resistance of concrete, sulfate resistance and microstructure of mortar containing palm oil fuel ash were tested to investigate the feasibility of using palm oil fuel ash as supplementary cementing materials and to study the effects of POFA’s source on strength, chloride and sulfate resistance of concrete and mortar.

2. Experimental Program

Palm Oil Fuel Ash: Promising Supplementary Cementing Materials obtained and then disposed of to open fields

Fig. 1. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) of CAPOFA

Palm Oil Fuel Ash: Promising Supplementary Cementing Materials obtained and then disposed of to open fields

Fig. 2. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) of ALPOFA

Palm Oil Fuel Ash: Promising Supplementary Cementing Materials obtained and then disposed of to open fields

Fig. 3. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) of KTPOFA

 

2.1 Materials

the cost of sieving and grinding POFA may compensate the cost of environmental hazard from the discharge of the ash as landfill

2.1.1

Cement

or any other activities. Physically, POFA is grayish in color and

Ordinary Portland cement was used in this study.

become dark with increasing proportions of unburned carbon

and it is finer than OPC (Awal and Hussin, 1997). The particles

2.1.2

Palm Oil Fuel Ash

shape of CAPOFA, KTPOFA and ALPOFA are clearly illustrated

Three different palm oil fuel ashes were collected from three different palm oil mills in Malaysia and namely CAPOFA, KTPOFA and ALPOFA. The ashes were sieved through 300 µm sieve in order to eliminate undesired particles. The ashes were ground by modified Loss Angeles abrasion machine to reduce the particle size to 45 µm. Sieving and grinding POFA to 45 µm or less is necessary in order to be used as cement replacement material, otherwise raw POFA is only good as filler. However,

in Figs. 1, 2 and 3 obtained using a scanning electron microscopy method. The large particles of raw POFA become thinner, irregular, and crushed formed particles as a result of grinding process. Based on the chemical composition of POFA ashes and cement presented in Table 1, CAPOFA are rich in silica content and could be classified as class N pozzloana according to the standard (ASTM C618-03, 2004). ALPOFA has high content of silica and could be classified as class N pozzloana when LOI

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S. O. Bamaga, M. W. Hussin, and Mohamed A. Ismail

Table 1. Chemical Composition POFA Ashes and Cement

  • 2.3 Testing Procedures

 

Cement

CAPOFA

ALPOFA

KTPOFA

SiO 2

21.9

58.30

59.60

52.50

Al 2 O 3

5.0

6.69

7.05

 

Fe 2 O 3

2.6

9.77

8.77

 

CaO

65.1

6.72

8.06

11.30

MgO

3.10

3.69

3.09

 

SO 3

-

0.96

0.57

0.82

K 2 O

0.5

8.40

7.64

10.20

LOI

1.3

7.34

14.85

6.72

Table 2. Mix Proportion of Concrete Mixes

   

Mix proportion [kg/m 3 ]

   

Mixes

   

Fine

Coarse

 

SP

W/B

Cement

POFA

agg.

agg.

Water

[liter]

Control

 

-

 
  • 500 11.5

    • 711 145

1067

     

CAPOFA

 

100

 
  • 400 11.5

    • 711 145

1067

     

ALPOFA

 

100

 
  • 400 11.5

    • 711 145

1067

     

KTPOFA

 

100

 
  • 400 11.5

    • 711 145

1067

     
  • 2.3.1 Compressive Strength

  • 8.83 Compressive strength of concretes was tested at ages of 7, 28

  • 5.73 and 90 days using concrete cubes of 100 mm size. Specimens were left covered by plastic sheeting for 24 hrs after casting then

  • 3.55 demolded and cured in water tank until testing ages.

    • 2.3.2 Chloride Resistance

Rapid Chloride Penetration Test (RCPT) is widely used to rapidly predict the ability of concrete to resist chloride ions penetration. RCPT test was originally developed by Whiting in1981 and

standardized by ASTM C1202 in 1990 th , 50-mm thick, 100-mm diameter saturated concrete specimen is subjected to a 60 V

  • 0.28 applied DC voltage for 6 hours using the apparatus illustrated in

  • 0.28 ASTM C1202. In one reservoir is a 3.0% NaCl solution and in

  • 0.28 the other reservoir is a 0.3 M NaOH solution. The total charge

  • 0.28 passed, in coulombs, is determined and used to rate the concrete according to the standard. Concrete cylinders with 100 mm diameter and 200 mm height were used. The specimen was prepared before carrying out the test, where 50 mm slice was taken from the top of the cylinder to be the test specimen, then the side surface of specimen was coated with rapid setting, electrically nonconductive product. The specimen was subjected to saturation vacuum in sealed desiccator for 3 hours and for one additional hour after cover the specimen with de- aerated water. Subsequently, the specimen was immersed in de- aerated water for 18 hours then transferred to sealable container which maintain specimen in 95% or higher relative humidity. A potential difference of 60 V dc is maintained across the ends of the specimen for 6 hrs, one of which (top surface of specimen) is immersed in 3% by mass a sodium chloride solution, the other in 0.3 N a sodium hydroxide solution. Along the period of test the current was recorded every 30 minutes and each half of the test cell was remained filled with the appropriate solution for the entire period of the test.

    • 2.3.3 Sulfate Resistance and Microstructure

Three mortar bars of 25 × 25 × 285 mm from each mix were

prepared and cured according to (ASTM C1012, 2004). Then, the specimens were immersed in 5% of sodium sulfate Na 2 SO 4 solution and the change in length of bars was recorded for 15 weeks. Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM) was conducted to study the microstructure of mortars after immersing in sodium sulfate.

requirement is ignored. However, LOI effect has been proven not to be very effective (Al Amoudi et al., 1993). KTPOFA comply with the requirements of class F pozzolana according to the standard (ASTM C618-03, 2004).

  • 2.1.3 Aggregates

Sand with specific gravity of 2.58, absorption of 2.04% and fineness modulus of 3.21 and crushed granite of 10 mm size and

specific gravity of 2.60, absorption of 0.5% were used as fine and coarse aggregates respectively.

2.2 Mix Proportion

  • 2.2.1 Concrete

Control concrete mix was prepared using high amount of cement (500 kg/m 3 ). To control the negative effects of mixing water, the ratio of water to cement was kept constant with 0.28, high water reducing admixture was added to maintain the workability, the ratio of coarse to fine aggregate was 3:2 by weight. Part of ordinary portland cement in control concrete mix was replaced by 20% by weight by ground POFA in order to produce CAPOFA, ALPOFA and KTPOFA concrete mixes (Table 2).

  • 2.2.2 Mortar

Three mortar mixes were prepared according to standard (ASTM C1012, 2004). The control mortar was made using plain portland cement. The mixes used consist of 1 part binder (cement + POFA) and 2.75 parts of sand proportioned by mass. For control mix, water binder ratio of 0.485 was used, and then the flow in 25 drops of the flow table was recorded. Water binder ratio that is sufficient to develop a flow within ± 5 of the reference mix flow was used for mixes containing POFA.

3. Results and Discussion

  • 3.1 Compressive Strength

Compressive strength of control concrete and CAPOFA, ALPOFA and KTPOFA concretes are illustrated in Fig. 4. In general, the compressive strength of POFA concretes was developed with time

specially after age of 28 days. The compressive strength of CAPOFA, ALPOFA and KTPOFA concretes are 39.31, 28. 79

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Palm Oil Fuel Ash: Promising Supplementary Cementing Materials

Palm Oil Fuel Ash: Promising Supplementary Cementing Materials Fig. 4. Compressive Strength of Concretes and 39.61

Fig. 4. Compressive Strength of Concretes

and 39.61 MPa at 7 days and 48.72, 36.87 and 41.58 MPa at 28 days respectively, which are generally lower than compressive strength of control concrete at same ages, the reason is that POFA concretes have less cement content, therefore; the produced hydration products that are essential to forming the calcium silicate hydrate gel are less than that of control concrete (Sata et al., 2007). At 90 days, the compressive strength of CAPOFA, ALPOFA and KTPOFA were significantly developed to possess 53.02, 51.95 and 53.44 MPa respectively. As POFA concretes compared to control concrete, it could be observed that higher compressive strength to that of control concrete could be gained at late ages when 20% of cement replaced by CAPOFA, ALPOFA or KTPOFA. This is due to the high amount of SiO 2 content of POFA that react with calcium hydroxide at later ages to produce impermeable concrete by producing additional calcium silicate hydrate gel (Weerachart et al., 2007; Weerachart et al., 2009; Sata et al., 2007; Sata et al., 2004).

Palm Oil Fuel Ash: Promising Supplementary Cementing Materials Fig. 4. Compressive Strength of Concretes and 39.61

Fig. 6. Expansion Values of Mortar Bars

clear to observe that a reduction of about 35% to 60% in the charge passed was achieved with replacing 20% of cement by CAPOFA, ALPOFA and KTPOFA. Chindaprasirt et al. (2008) was conducted RCPT test on specimens of mortar containing 20% of POFA. It was observed that the ability of POFA mortar to resist the penetration of chloride ions was significantly improved. Also, it is worth to mention that a reduction in charge passed of 60% was recorded by Sharfuddin et al. (2008) when RCPT test was conducted on concrete specimens containing 10% of silica fume. The improvement in ability of CAPOFA, ALPOFA and KTPOFA concretes to resist chloride ions penetration is due to the reaction of SiO 2 of POFA and calcium hydroxide that improves the interfacial bonding between the aggregates and pastes resulting in impermeable and dense concrete (Weerachart et al., 2009; Zhang et al., 1996; Isaia et al., 2003).

3.2. Chloride Resistance

The results of the RCPT test for control concrete and CAPOFA, ALPOFA and KTPOFA concretes are shown in Fig. 5. The analysis of results are based on duplicate specimens for each concrete. After applying a potential difference of 60 V dc for 6 hrs across the ends of specimens, the average of charge passed for control concrete was 731.7 (in coulombs). For CAPOFA, ALPOFA and KTPOFA concretes, the average of charge passed (in coulombs) was 276.3, 380.25 and 463.0 respectively. It is

Palm Oil Fuel Ash: Promising Supplementary Cementing Materials Fig. 4. Compressive Strength of Concretes and 39.61

Fig. 5. RCPT Test Results

3.3 Sulfate Resistance

The expansion values of control, CAPOFA, ALPOFA and

Palm Oil Fuel Ash: Promising Supplementary Cementing Materials Fig. 4. Compressive Strength of Concretes and 39.61

Fig. 7. FESEM Micrographs of Mortars: (a) Control, (b) CAPOFA, (c) ALPOFA, (d) KTPOFA

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S. O. Bamaga, M. W. Hussin, and Mohamed A. Ismail

KTPOFA mortar bars are shown in Fig. 6. The expansion values of CAPOFA, ALPOFA and KTPOFA mortar bars were essentially lower than control mortar bars values. CAPOFA, ALPOFA and KTPOFA were recorded expansion values of 0.047, 0.068 and 0.046% respectively compared to 0.075% for control mortar bars. It is clear to observe that the expansion of mortar bars immersed in sodium sulfate could be reduced up to 37% by using CAPOFA or KTPOFA to replace 20% of cement in mortar mixes and up to 9% only by using ALPOFA. This reduction in expansion could be attributed to the pozzolanic reaction that produce more calcium silicate hydrate gel and preventing calcium hydroxide to react with sodium sulfate. A typical Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM) of control and CAPOFA, ALPOFA and KTPOFA mortars are shown in Fig. 7. The analysis of FESEM results are based on three specimens for each mortar, taken from the center of the cross section of the mortar bars. The FESEM micrographs generally show porous structures with different degree for all mortar types. Calcium silicate hydrate C-S-H gel could be observed in CAPOFA and KTPOFA mortars, also, they are more dense and homogenous. For control mortar, the micrograph indicates generally C-S-H gel with amount of gypsum and pore structures.

4. Conclusions

From the result of this study, the following conclusions can be drawn:

1. POFA has high content of SiO 2 and could be used to replace 20 % of Portland cement in concrete mix without any degra- dation in compressive strength at later ages. 2. The cost of preparation of POFA to be used as cementing replacement material may compensate the cost of environ- mental hazard from the discharge of the ash as landfill or any other activities. 3. The reaction of POFA starts at later ages after 28 days where sil- ica oxide reacts with calcium hydroxide to produce C-S-H gel. 4. The resistivity of CAPOFA, ALPOFA and KTPOFA con- cretes to chloride ions penetration is substantially improved. 5. Improvement in sulfate resistance up to 37% could be achieved when 20% of cement in mortar mix is replaced by CAPOFA or KTPOFA ashes. 6. Consuming POFA as cementing materials in construction industry may lead to expand the palm oil industry and reduce the environmental problems and CO 2 emission.

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