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Production of Lightweight Concrete Decorative Tiles

Info: 3151 words (13 pages) Dissertation
Published: 6th Dec 2019

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Tagged: Construction

1.2 Aim

To produce the lightweight concrete decorative tiles by using waste materials with different attractive colour and pattern.

1.3 Objectives

  • To achieve the properties of lightweight concrete decorative tiles.
  • To assess the purpose and advantages of lightweight concrete decorative tiles.
  • Design mix of the decorative tiles by different ratio with waste materials.

1.4 Problem statement

Lightweight concrete decorative tiles are very common use nowadays. But using waste materials to produce lightweight concrete decorative tiles are still very fresh in our country.

1.5 Scope of study

The scope of study for this dissertation is concerned on the lightweight concrete decorative tiles. The purpose for this dissertation is to produce decorative tiles with waste materials .

1.6 Background information

Nowadays, building materials become more and more important in construction industry. Concrete has become the most important material for large buildings because it is durable, fire resistant, relatively cheap, and an entire structure can be cast monolithically. Lightweight concrete may be structural concrete that weights slightly less than normal concrete and thus reduces the weight of a structure, or it may be much lighter and used mainly for insulation and sound absorption. It is lighter than the conventional concrete. The use of lightweight concrete blocks has been widely spread across countries. Its advantages are that there is a reduction of dead load, faster building rates in construction and lower haulage and handling costs.

Decorative tiles have been with us from the earliest days of human civilization with some of the earliest examples of decorative wall tiles coming from 4000 years ago. Traces of this rich history can be found in the contemporary decorative tiles we find nowadays. Many techniques were used to create pictures, figures and patterns on pieces of tile. These techniques include glazed clay, encaustic or inlaid clay, mosaic stone, mosaic clay tiles, hand painted tiles, carved and formed tiles, sgraffito (scratched tiles), metallic overlays and transfer printing. These same methods are all used to make decorative tiles today. These are very similar to the pieces made by ancient tilemakers. In fact art tiles as they’re known in the industry, have become the fastest growing trend in tile design and are as coveted my 21st century designers and customers as they were prized by our ancestors.

1.7 Methodology

Stage 1 : Literature review

This study will review the relevant literature on the lightweight concrete brick and also clay brick. In order to achieve the entire objective, a systematic literature review shall be conducted which will cover reference book in library, institutional and statutory publication, periodicals and trade/academic journals and so on. A research of the relevant information including an internet searching conduct in order to find out the properties of lightweight concrete brick and clay brick. The entire information search from Internet will keep us informed of the future and presence data.

Stage 2 : Pilot study

Date collection will take the form of a structured postal questionnaire. However, an initial pilot study will be conducted to test the validity of the questionnaire through in depth test at laboratory.

Stage 3 : Testing at laboratory

The feedback from pilot study should assist in laboratory experiment . Testing the material that related to my research.

Stage 4 : Analysing the experiment result

The analysis of the experiment result will take two forms. First is do a comparison with table form. Second is do a result proposal then just do a table and list out the differences between two materials.

Stage 5 : Writing the research report

This stage involved writing up the content of the dissertation and should cover the chapters proposed in the following section.

1.8 Proposed structure of the dissertation

Chapter 1 – Introduction

Chapter 2 – Literature review

Chapter 3 – Research design and methodology

Chapter 4 – Analysis of the results and discussion

Chapter 5 – Conclusion and further study evidence


2.1 What is Lightweight Concrete Decorative Tiles ?

2.1.1 Definition of Lightweight Concrete

Jeffrey Girard (2006) states that ‘lightweight concrete mixes are commonly used in the construction industry where weight savings is an important factor. One of the most common uses for lightweight concrete is with floor, roof or bridge decks; others include pavement systems, masonry blocks and offshore oil structures. Lightweight concrete is made by replacing some or all of the normal weight aggregate with lightweight aggregate. Often the coarse fraction is replaced with lightweight aggregate and the fines are normal weight sand.’

Mat Lazim Zakaria (1978) states that ‘lightweight concrete can be defined as a type of concrete which includes an expanding agent in that it increases the volume of the mixture while giving additional qualities such as nailibility and lessened the dead weight.’

Mohd Roji Samidi (1997) written that ‘lightweight concrete is lighter than the conventional concrete with a dry density of 300 kg/m3 up to 1840 kg/m3; 87 to 23% lighter. It was first introduced by the Romans in the second century where ‘The Pantheon’ has been constructed using pumice, the most common type of aggregate used in that particular year.’

Lightweight are commonly use when weight saving is the important factor such as using in floor, wall, bridge decks or roof. Usually it is made by replacing lightweight aggregate rather than normal weight aggregate to produce lighter in weight and the sand will be remain the same. It also can be made by adding some admixture or expanding agent to increase the volume of the mixture. It will lessen the weight of the concrete. Lightweight concrete can be made to lighter than the conventional concrete up to 23 to 87% still the most common type of lightweight concrete will be replacing the normal aggregate by lightweight aggregate.

2.1.2 History of Decorative Tiles

· Decorative tile has been around since the beginning of recorded history. In fact, some of the earliest records were created on tile that was carved, fired and then preserved in the libraries of kings. Even the glazing of tile has long been practiced, seen in archaeological finds such as the Ishtar Gate of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II (dating to around 575 BC).

Tiles were used in mosaics throughout Greece and Italy, often depicting intricate scenes of religious and cultural value. Roman baths were often decorated in tile mosaics, some of which still survive.

Early use of decorative tiles was a privilege that was restricted to the upper class and the clergy. The use of ceramic tile became more widespread in Europe during the Middle Ages. Italy was a major producer of such tile, and still is today. Tiles used in cathedrals throughout Europe can still be seen today, a testament to their durability.

2.2 Waste Materials – Papercrete

Papercrete is a building material comprised of a mixture of Portland cement and recycled paper fiber (a light-weight, insulating concrete) . The maximum insulating value is obtained when the dry matrix includes the greatest density of air pockets. High strength is obtained when the paper fiber is thoroughly coated by the portland cement.

Papercrete is mixed with Portland cement to obtain an excellent sound absorption quality, to be flame/fungus retardant, and bug/rodent resistant. Since it is relatively light , it is potentially an ideal material for earthquake-prone areas. It can be used in many ways as blocks, panels, poured in place, used like igloo blocks to make a self-standing dome or applied over a framework to make a roof or dome.

2.3 Properties of Lightweight Concrete Decorative Tiles

2.3.1 Compressive Strength

For compressive strength, the performance of lightweight concrete is controlled on lightweight aggregates. Two factors enter into the strength of lightweight concrete are the strength of the aggregates and the strength of the hardened cement-water paste. Among the various types of lightweight aggregate, there are large differences in strength and toughness, and all but the strongest lightweight aggregates are likely to be weaker than hardened cement-water pastes within the usual range of cement contents. (American Society for Testing and Materials,1956 pp.241)

As the general rule, the strength of a lightweight concrete will be less than that of a concrete of equal cement content but containing aggregates of normal weight. Also, with a given cement content, the lower the strength of the lightweight aggregates the lower will be the strength of the lightweight concrete. (American Society for Testing and Materials,1956 pp.241)

In the truth, lightweight aggregate concrete does not have good compressive strength as the density is low. The strongest of the lightweight aggregate concrete is still weaker than the cement paste. The lower the strength of lightweight aggregate, the lower the strength of lightweight concrete. The benefit for lightweight concrete is light in weight, good in insulation and fire resistance.

2.3.2 Sound Insulation and Absorption

Lightweight concrete is a perfect impact and air-borne sound absorbing concrete and thus is highly suitable for partition walls and floor screeds or foundations. The air-borne or air contain in the lightweight concrete has better sound absorption. When there is better sound absorption, the better for the sound insulation. It is suitable to use for partition walls and floors which require better sound insulation.

2.3.3 Fire Resistance

Lightweight concrete has a better fire resistance than concrete consisting of normal aggregates, because of its lower heat conductivity, and its lower rate of strength loss with rise in temperature .

Lightweight concrete has better fire resistance than conventional concrete because it has lower heat conductivity. When the temperature of the lightweight concrete rise, it does not expand quickly like conventional concrete as the density of lightweight concrete is lower. As a result, the lower rate of strength loss will be for the lightweight concrete. It is to prevent the fire spread faster to cause more injuries or losses. If the fire spread one room to another room, the victims in a fire may not able to escape. It is why the covering elements should be better fire resistance.

2.4 Purpose of Decorative Tiles

Decorative tiles can be used in a variety of places around the home and in many different ways. While most people think of floor tiling, there are many other places that can be given a fresh look with tiles. They can also be used on kitchen counters, walls and in bathrooms. 

Tiles can be great to put on walls behind kitchen and bathroom sinks or around bathtubs as backsplashes. Using tiles as borders around rooms is an effective way of creating a new look. Replacing an old floor with new tiles can create a floor that is easy to care for and doubles as a piece of art.

Decorative tiles can also be used on an individual basis. Tiles that are decorated with a single scene or picture can double as wall art. A few plain tiles and decorating them by hand is a great way to create one-of-a-kind art, specially tailored to an individual room.

2.5 Advantages and Disadvantages of Lightweight Concrete

Table below shows the advantages and disadvantages of using lightweight concrete as structure .



rapid and relatively simple construction

Economical in terms of transportation as well as reduction in manpower

Significant reduction of overall weight results in saving structural

frames, footing or piles

Most of lightweight concrete have better nailing and sawing properties than heavier and stronger conventional concrete

Very sensitive with water content in the mixtures

Difficult to place and finish because of the porosity and angularity of the aggregate. In some mixes the cement mortar may separate the aggregate and float towards the surface

Mixing time is longer than conventional concrete to assure proper mixing

Table 2 : Advantages and Disadvantages of Lightweight Concrete

Source : (Mohd Roji Samidi,1997)

2.6 Benefit of Using Lightweight Concrete Decorative Tile

Replacing old wallpaper and flooring with decorative tiles can create a whole new look for a room, without dipping too far into the budget. While it is not uncommon to do a whole floor or wall in tile, they can also be used as accent pieces and borders.

Decorative tiles are durable and easy to clean. Weathering tiles, specifically made for outdoor use, can be not only extremely resistant to the elements, but a good source of insulation as well.

2.6.1 Weight Reduction

Reduced dead load of wet concrete allows longer span to be poured unpropped. This save both labour and circle time for each floor. Reduces the dead weight of a structure from 1/3 to ½ the weight of normal concrete.

2.6.2 Thermal insulation

A less obvious but nonetheless important characteristics of lightweight concrete is its relatively low thermal conductivity, a property which improves with decreasing density in recent years, with the increasing cost and scarcity of energy sources, more attention has been given the formerly to the need for reducing fuel consumption while maintaining, and indeed improving, comfort conditions buildings. The point is illustrated by fact that a 125mm thick solid wall of aerated concrete will give thermal insulation about four times greater than that of a 230mm clay brick wall.

2.6.3 Fire Resistance

A 13 to 15 cm (5-6 inch) thick wall made of 1,100 kg/m3 density lightweight concrete has a fire endurance of 5-7 hours. The same degree of endurance is achievable with a 400 kg/m3 density lightweight concrete that is only l0 cm thick. Lightweight concrete is non-combustible, and the air embedded in lightweight concrete attributes to the high fire-rating.

2.6.4 Sound Insulation

Lightweight concrete is a perfect impact and air-borne sound absorbing concrete and thus is highly suitable for partition walls and floor screeds or foundations.

2.6.5 Savings in Material

A reduction in dead weight contributes substantially to savings in reinforcement steel in foundations. Therefore, the overall quantity of steel reinforcement in lightweight concrete can be reduced by as much as 10%. Savings are also substantial in transportation, crane- and man-handling related activities as well as in raw materials, as no gravel is required to produce lightweight concrete, only the sand and cement mortar/paste subsequently embedded in the foam (air). Casting very slender walls can optimize the amount of concrete used, which also results in using a very thin layer of plaster. For certain applications, no plaster is required, and gypsum putty is directly applied before painting. Walls as thin as 50 mm can also be cast. The high flow ability of lightweight concrete makes vibration unnecessary, and thus requires vibrating equipment/accessories.

2.6.6 Savings in Manpower and Cost

Only a few semi-skilled workers are needed to produce lightweight concrete for the casting or pouring of panels, blocks, or even complete walls for houses. In producing lightweight concrete, steelworks, formworks, brick laying and cement renderings do not constitute major site activities, and therefore the related workers are not required. Workers are only needed to set up cost saving and reusable formworks, and then to remove them for the next erection or casting.

Reduction of dead load, faster building rates and lower haulage and handling costs. The eight of the building in term of the loads transmitted by the foundations is an important factor in design, particular for the case of tall buildings. The use of lightweight concrete has sometimes made it possible to proceed with the design which otherwise would have been abandoned because of excessive weight. In frame structures, considerable savings in cost can be brought about by using lightweight concrete for the construction floors, partition and external cladding. Most building materials such as clay bricks the haulage load is limited not by volume but by weight. With suitable design containers much larger volumes of lightweight concrete can haul economically. Worker can work faster and better, there should be a reduction in labour cost. This can account for up to 80% of the finished cost. Therefore, handling costs may be lower as well.

2.6.7 Life span of Lightweight Concrete

Lightweight concrete has a life-time span (minimum 100 years). Previous investigation has shown that sectioned blocks of cellular concrete cast 10 years ago indicated only 75 percent of the hydrated Cement. It is expected that the strength would continue to increase with continuing hydration. The use of lightweight concrete in many cases has eliminated the use of products like clay bricks, conventional concrete blocks and other insulation materials.

2.7 Design Mix of The Decorative Tiles

2.7.1 Papercrete

Formulas – Papercrete (Anon., 2010) provided that ‘But a typical starting formula for a 200-gallon batch is 160 gallons (727 liters) of water, 60 pounds (27 kilograms) of paper, 1 bag or 94 pounds (43 kilograms) of Portland cement and 15 shovelfuls or 65 pounds (29 kilograms) of sand. The sand adds thermal mass, reduces flammability and shrinkage, and packs down the slurry for a denser, stronger block.’

This is a mixing formula for a 200 gallon batch papercrete. It needed 727 liters of water, 27 kilograms of paper, 43 kilograms of cement and 29 kilograms of sand. The purpose of the sand is to reduce flammability and shrinkage of the papercrete. It also packs down the slurry denser and stronger.

2.7.2 Proportion of Design mix

In this project I will produce few samples of design mix for papercrete such as lime, cement and paper sludge mix or cement and paper sludge mix or lime and paper sludge mix. These are to find out which design mix is the most suitable to produce a lightweight concrete decorative tiles. The design mix should able to last longer with its properties.

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