Waste Plastic and plant fibres can now be used to make useful products like tiles and bricks because, researchers at IIT, Roorkee has made it possible. They have developed a technology which will help people to do it.
To do so, you need some fibrous substance, polymer substance (HDPE or high-density polyethylene material), and a chemical developed at the institute. Any type of plastic waste can be used, such as used bottles, plastic buckets or mobile covers. And for the fibrous substance, you can use rice, wheat, jute, coir or even human hair.
Head of the Department of Chemical Engineering at IIT Roorkee, Shishir Sinha, said “The technology is very simple. A person has to just heat up a mixture (up to 110 to 140 degrees) of plastic and fibrous materials in a mould with the chemical and then let it cool for some time. A nice tile or a brick would be ready for use,”.
The chemical developed by the research group at IIT Roorkee is an organic chemical based on Olefins. It works as a binding material for the polymer and fibre materials to form the composites.
“We have developed this chemical by using domestically available ingredients. It would cost only around Rs. 50 per 100 gram. This means people in villages will be able to produce a set of 10 one sq ft tiles at a cost of just about Rs 100.”
Dr. Sinha believed that the technology can be used with any material or waste. Recently, the research group is working on human hair as a new raw material for fibrous content.
He Said, “Human hair has high tensile strength, is lightweight and is completely biodegradable. Products made out of hair fibre reinforced HDPE composites have been found to be highly resistant to corrosion and have good mechanical property”. He explained that he and his team is working on the human hair because it is easily available in villages and hamlets in plenty of quantity.
“We wanted to ensure that at least some of the work we do could be of use to the poorest of the poor. This technology would help achieve that”.