Mixtures of expanded polystyrene (EPS) wastes and gypsum, characterization and uses in construction.
Francisco Javier González Madariaga The expanded polystyrene (EPS) recycling technique exposed here consists in the formation of EPS wastes and gypsum-water mixtures with different proportions and under different conditions. One of the objectives for this thesis is to determine the components proportions for the gypsum-EPS wastes mixtures to be used as plasterboards and panels in construction also the work done here includes the determination of some of the new plasterboards and panels main properties. The experimental work at the new materials is the main part in this thesis. In the latest experimental section 14 physical and mechanical resistance tests have been done to 290 specimens. Among 68 different mixtures tested only 8 were selected and applied in 2 construction materials: one with similar uses to gypsum plasterboards and the other one with similar uses to a thermal insulating panel. The plasterboard mixtures have been produced with a main gypsum proportion and a reduced percentage of EPS wastes. From the plasterboard tests we know that plasterboards made of gypsum-EPS wastes are more prone to total water absorption (14% more) and the new material is 23,1% lighter than the standard laminated gypsum plasterboards (10 kg/m2) available in the market, both materials 12,5 mm thick. The flexure resistance for the new plasterboards with EPS wastes complies the UNE 102035-1M: 2001 Spanish Norm by more than 24 N. The fire reaction test developed here allows the research team to propose a Euroclasses level of B, s2, d0 for the new plasterboard materials because they show under a punctual fire attack a very limited combustion and a slow and limited smoke production with no ignited dropping particles. The impact resistance test of the new plasterboards shows that they exceed the limits by more than 2, 29 mm of the Spanish Norm mentioned before where the maximum impact mark diameter accepted is 20 mm.
The mixture selected to by used in a thermal insulation panel has a high EPS waste percentage and a little of gypsum-water. From the insulation panel tests: they show a 20.7% mean of water absorption which is higher than the percentage accepted by the Spanish Norm UNE-EN 12087. The new panel has a density of 193 kg/m3 which is superior to a brand new EPS panels density (Type III 15 kg/m3) this result is similar or superior to others researchers publications who work on construction materials made of alike components. The EPS wastes-gypsum panel could be classified to flexure resistance as a BS 350 material (349,9 kPa) according the European Norm UNE-EN 13163:2002 which is a higher level to a new EPS panel type III (15 kg/m3) with a flexure resistance of 124 kPa, level BS 115 . The thermal conductivity index for the selected EPS wastes- gypsum mixture was 0,065 W/mK which is 12, 3% higher than a new EPS Type I (0,057 W/mK) and 66% higher than a type III EPS panel ( 0,039 W/mK).
This is an original work which has produced several optimized mixtures of EPS wastes and gypsum-water. The new materials developed here are useful for manufacturing of construction elements with similar applications like gypsum plasterboard and EPS panels which in one hand cooperate to recycle EPS wastes and in the other hand they save the gypsum quantities required for its production.