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Proceedings of EnCon2011

4th Engineering Conference

Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Application of Clam (lokan) Shell as

Beach no here
Retaining Wall
M Yusof1, S.J. James Ujai2, F. Sahari3, S.N.L Taib1, N.H. Noor Mohamed1

concrete is if the compressive strength is higher than the

standard concrete. Other important properties such as
durability, impact, etc are not discussed.
Generally, there are many types of retaining wall. Table 1
shows some types of the retaining wall available.

Abstract This project is about investigating the possibility

of using the local clam (lokan)l embedded in the concrete as
beach retaining wall. Since the shell is considered as
undesirable product and normally disposed in open area, the
researchers taking this opportunity to determine the possibility
of lokan shell powder as the alternative fine aggregate to
increase the compressive strength of the concrete. From the
compression test, by embedding lokan powder into the
concrete, it can increase the compressive strength up to 16% (at
30 wt% of lokan powder) compared to concrete without lokan
powder. Thus, it can be concluded that lokan powder which is
waste material has high potential as the alternative fine
aggregate to improve strength of the concrete and can be
applied as a retaining wall.

Table 1: 4 types of retaining wall

1) Gravity wall
weight of their mass
to resist pressures
from behind and will
often have a slight
batter setback to
improve stability by
leaning back into the
retained soil.

Keywords: clamshell, aggregates, porosity.



etaining wall is a structure that is designed to oppose

the lateral pressure of soil when there are some changes
in ground elevation that exceeds the slope of repose the
soil. For beach retaining wall, its main function is to separate
the retained soil from being struck by strong wave from the
sea and thus, avoid the erosion along the coastline.
According to the Annual Report, department of Irrigation
and Drainage (DID Malaysia, 2007), about 1415 km out of
4809 km of Malaysias coastline is subjected to erosion of
different degree of harshness. Besides, the water level
increased during the monsoon period and the wave produced
will breaks directly against the fragment that causing the loss
of materials. This has forced society to take urgent action to
commence coastal erosion protection by using bulky
construction such as concrete.
Retaining walls serve to retain the lateral pressure of soil.
In this case, for beach retaining wall, the wall is not only
subjected to the pressure from the soil but also the sea water
and the sea wave. For this purpose the selection of the type
of the retaining wall and the materials (including the
concrete) is very important. However, for this study, the only
point to be concentrated is to improve the compressive
strength of the concrete that can be applied to build up the
retaining wall. The researchers assume that the best selected

2) Cantilevered
cantilever loads to a
footing, concerting
horizontal pressures
from behind the wall
to vertical pressures
on the ground below
3) Anchored wall
It can be constructed
in any of the
includes additional
strength using cable
anchored in the rock
or soil behind it.
4) Sheet pilling
For taller sheet pile,
anchors are placed
behind the potential
failure plane in the

M. Yusof, E. Junaidi, S.N.L Taib, and N.H. Noor Mohamed are with
Faculty of Engineering, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94300 Kota
ymashun@feng.unimas.my, tel: 082-583296).
S.J. James was a student with Faculty of Engineering, Universiti
Malaysia Sarawak (Cley04200@yahoo.com)
F. Sahari is with Faculty of Applied and Creative Arts, Universiti
Malaysia Sarawak, 94300 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak

Raman et al,.stated that tremendous efforts have been

taken in the area of concrete engineering and technology to
study the utilization of waste materials in the production of
concrete[1]. Thus, waste management and concrete can be
improved. Efforts have been focused in identifying and
optimizing the benefits of different types of cement
replacement materials as well as alternative aggregate in
concrete. Some researchers recommended some others waste
and by-product materials such as fly ash [1], quarry dust [2],
and silica fumes [3,4] to enhance the properties of concrete
such as strength, stiffness, shrinkage, density, creep,
durability and permeability of hardened concrete. The
choice of aggregate depends on the material physical,
particle size and other properties. Waste materials and byproducts can be classified into four main groups based on
their source such as agricultural, by-product, industrial and
mineral [5].
For this study, local clam shell which is popularly known
as lokan among local people is selected as an aggregate in
the concrete. The scientific name of it, is polymesoda
expansa. It is easily found in stiff mud of the mangrove
swamp [6] and has a very large and heavy bivalve. The local
people normally throwing the shells away once the eatable
part have been removed. This may contribute to the increase
amount of food waste and thus the total amount of the waste
at the landfill. Not much research has been done on the
compositions of the lokan shell. However, a research done
on another close bivalve, the blood cockle showed that
calcium carbonate, CaCO3 makes up about 98.7% of the
total mineral composition of the shell [7]. According to
another source, plants and animals absorb calcium carbonate
from water where it exists, in most cases, in the dissolved
form of calcium hydrogen carbonate Ca(HCO3)2 [The
European Calcium Carbonate]. From these statements, we
can safely assume that the Lokan shell is also made up of a
large portion of calcium carbonate.
The main objective of this research is to determine the
mechanical properties of the concrete that consist of the
clam shell as fine aggregate according to different mass
fraction (10%, 20% and 30% mass fraction of the total
sand). For concrete, fine aggregate can be defined as the
particle size up to 5 mm while the coarse aggregate if from
20 to 79 of an inch (20mm). For each fraction, 3 specimens
are prepared and the results are in average value. In this
study, the concrete which is not contain any lokan powder is
called as reference concrete. The purpose is to compare the
effect of mixing the lokan powder in terms of compressive
strength of the concrete.

MX-898M). Table 2 shows the portion of the reference

sample and the 10%, 20%, and 30% mass fraction of lokan
powder from the total mass of sand. For the coarse aggregate
which is coarse stone, the size of less than 10 mm was
selected by sieving it on the shaker.
Table 2: Concrete mixing proportion of reference sample
(without lokan powder) and with different mass fraction of
lokan powder with the size of less than 500m
Water/cement ratio= 0.47
Cement=3323.5 g
Water = 1562.05 g
Coarse aggregates=8967.4 g
Fine aggregates=4424.2 g*
Mass percentage of
Mass of clam
Mass of sand
fine aggregates
(Reference sample)
*Lokan and sand is identified as fine aggregates
Three samples with different mass fraction of lokan
powder and one reference sample (with no lokan powder) of
concretes were constructed. Each sample contains 3
specimens, thus the average data can be determined from 3
readings. Each specimen was cured in water at room
temperature for 28 days before tested by using compressive
test machine. The samples were casted in the cube size of
150 mm x 150 mm x 150mm mould. Compressive test
machine was used to determine the compressive strength of
the mortar.


The content of reference sample was as the concrete
standard, without adding any clamshell particle. The
ingredients of the reference sample were only Portland
cement, sand, coarse aggregates and water. Whereas, the
others three samples were added with different amount of
clam shell particles (refer Table 1) with similar size less
500m. The result obtained from the experiment was
tabulated in Table 3 and shown in Figure 1.
Table 3: Data collection for concrete compressive strength
test with and without clam shell.

Raw clam were collected form the local market at
Kampung Merdang, Kota Samarahan. The clam were
washed and scrubbed free of dirt. Then, they were boiled
about 10 minutes and cooled at room temperature before the
contents of the clam were removed leaving behind the shell.
The shells were washed thoroughly with clean water and
then oven dried at 50 oC for 24 hours. Dried clamshells were
then crushed and sieved to determine the size the powder. As
the preliminary study, the powder which was passing
through the sieve size of 500m was used since this size can
be easily obtained by using small size of blender (Panasonic

Compressive Strength Result (MPa)






















Compressive Strength (MPa)

concrete. The interfacial zone between cement paste and

aggregate in concrete has long been considered as a zone of
weaknesses, both in terms of strength and in terms of
permeation of fluids. The well known wall effect leads to a
depletion of anhydrous cement in the interfacial zone,
approaching zero at the aggregate surface. As a result of the
anhydrous distribution there is an increase in the amount of
porosity in the interfacial zone [11].
30% mass fraction of lokan powder out of total sand mass
recorded the highest compressive strength which is 42.86
MPa or about 16% higher than fresh concrete in this study.
This may due to excellent effect of micro filling, less
porosity and well dispersion of particles in cement matrix.
This portion also shows higher strength than standard
concrete for structural application which is 42 MPa. Since
30% mass fraction of lokan shell powder shows excellent
compressive strength value than the standard concrete, thus
the researchers assume that this might be a good candidate
for beach retaining wall. More study should be done on the
optimum fraction of the clam shell powder because the
increasing content of calcium carbonate in the concrete
could bring harm especially for compressive strength {He, et





Mass fraction of clam shell in the concrete (%) from

the total mass of sand

Figure 1: Effect of clam (lokan) shell powder content on the

compressive strength of concrete
Figure 1 shows the effect of embedding the lokan powder
with the size of less than 500m into the concrete after
curing 28 days in the water. The result shows that lokan
powder gives significant effect on the strength of the
concrete. The fresh concrete which does not contain any
lokan powder has the strength of 36.95 MPa. Adding the
lokan powder to 10% mass fraction may improves the
strength to 39.71 MPa which is about 7.5%. This may due to
the filling effect of the fine aggregate in the concrete. This
phenomena was also explained by Kwan et al., that the fine
particle would fill up the voids between the larger particles
and thus increase the packing density[8]. As a result, the
compressive strength would also increase. Another
researcher explained that the increase of strength may due to
the adhesive bond between particle [9]. Increasing the
adhesive forces between particles in an aggregate should
raise the strength of the aggregate because each particle then
required more force for fracture.
However, at 20% mass fraction of the lokan powder, the
strength is suddenly decrease to 38.04 MPa but value is still
higher compared to the reference sample. This may due to
non-homogeneous dispersed of fine particle in the concrete,
thus the interfacial interaction between particles and the
matrix (in this case, the matrix are cement and water) is not
effective. If the fine particle, coarse aggregate and the matrix
are well distributed, the interfacial interaction would be
maximized. This may required big energy absorbed or
stresses to initiate the micro crack. Another factor
contributes to the decrease of strength is the particle
agglomeration or clustering of particles. This normally
occurs due to the particles being distributed naturally
through tumbling action. These loosing states within the
composite system affect some properties including the
strength of the composite [10]. Therefore, some action may
be taken to improve homogeneity of the particle distribution.
Porosity is also one of the factors that affect the concrete
strength. Smaller pores lead to a higher strength of the
cement paste. Previous study states that the interfacial
transition zone (ITZ) around aggregate particles has a
significantly leads to higher porosity than bulk cement paste.
This elevated porosity will affect the transport properties of

This study has proved that the utilization of clam shell
powder in the concrete may produce positive result on the
compressive strength. The clam shell powder acts as the
filler in the concrete which can reduce the number of voids
and thus, improve the compressive strength of the concrete.
The preliminary study showed that the clam shell which is
waste material has high potential to be an excellent filler or
fine aggregate in the concrete. If the compressive strength is
the main criteria of selecting the material for beach retaining
wall, it can be concluded that 30% mass fraction of lokan
powder out of total mass of sand can be a good candidate of
the concrete that may be utilized in the beach retaining wall
The researchers would like to thank fully acknowledge the
support of Centre for Academic Information Services
(CAIS) and Faculty Engineering of University Malaysia





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