Does papercrete fulfil the increased needs of a façade cladding technology?

Papercrete is an experimental material which replaces an amount of cement with paper in the normal concrete mix. Concrete is the most commonly used material in construction. Its annual energy consumption exceeds that of all the other engineering materials. An estimated five to eight percent of the world’s carbon emissions coming from the concrete industry. Concrete industry is constantly looking for new ways to create lighter more ecological friendly products. Adding mineral fibres or foam are the most common ways.

Annual consumption of energy

The total weight, the cost and the CO2 emissions during production are reduced. Its use remains limited, because of the lack of official data about its structural behaviour, mechanical properties and durability. In order to bring papercrete closer to standardization further experimentation is needed.

The research is material based, and aims to define the limiting properties and set the main design principles. Results showed that papercrete meet most of the façade cladding systems requirements. It is a lightweight material (7 times lighter than concrete) with good heat and acoustic insulation properties and big variety on shapes, colours and textures. Papercrete though, is a new material and like all the new materials there is a period of time which its applications are limited because the manufacturing, processing and construction techniques are still not developed enough to facilitate its use.

Papercrete is a properties limited material. These properties will define whether if can be used as a façade cladding material or not. Adding reinforcement (fibres or metal mesh in the mesh) to improve the mechanical properties, changing the manufacture process (use less water-ovens) to minimize the drying period and increase the strength and prefabricating the panels in a controlled environment and moving them in situ when needed are the first steps towards standardizing the process and improving the quality. Papercrete is a property limited, materialThere are significant challenges going into business with papercrete but also opportunities. Deep knowledge in material properties and long term liability, advance in processing and building aspects, in combination with future material technology, will bring papercrete closer to standardization. Getting a building permit will become easier, will attract more investments, and eventually papercrete will be commercially accepted.



About Menelaos Kokkinos

Menelaos Kokkinos TU Delft mgkokkinos@gmail.com
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8 Responses to Home

  1. Dana Mears-Leiner says:

    I just completed my MS in Agricultural Engineering and my thesis concerned creating novel (more sustainable) paper materials. I am wondering if you are still researching papercrete and what the environmental advantages are to adding paper pulp to concrete? I was trying to reduce the amount of cellulose content in paper and replace it with other materials; thereby decreasing the amount of trees felled for paper products. So I am just wondering what your reasoning behind the whole product is? Just in the spirit of innovation? Thanks and good luck!

    • The environmental advantages relate with the reduction of the amount of cement in the mix. CO2 emissions during production and the embodied energy are reduced.
      The paper used to make the pulp has already been recycled 3-4 times (newspaper), so the benefits of papercrete also relate with the reuse of a waste material.

  2. Pingback: About | Menelaos Kokkinos portfolio

  3. manousos says:

    Μενέλα, τα Αγγλικά σου είναι φορ δε πουτς καβέιλα…

  4. In Canada due to the colder climate we consentrate on insulation.
    We are prefabricating walls 3×3 meter 50 cm thick with a core of straw bales and a skin of paper crete plaster 8 cm on inside and outside adding to the insulation of the straw.
    We reinforce the papercrete with wire mesh and hemp fibers and use fly ash ( waste product of the coal fired power plants) as a cement replacement.
    I order to have the papercrete stay at 8 cm thick on the wall while it is curing we use a hydraulic tilting table.
    The added benefit is the possibility of adding a stucco look to the papercrete by pouring in to a silicone mould on the table.(and adding color to the mix).
    What would you suggest we would do to make a better product?
    We are designing two story houses for urban infill projects powered by thin film solar moduals on a steel roof.
    We use a sandwich system with hydronic tubing under the steel roof to gain heat for domestic hot water and heating.Looking forward to your reply.

    • Hello.
      Forgive me for the late response. What do you mean a better product? By means of insulation, strength or appearance? I didnt really make any experiments about increasing the insulating properties because pure papercrete has good sound and heat insulating properties for façade panelling.
      Are you thinking of going into the market with your material?

  5. sir this is a concrete or mortor..?

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