Effect of swine-waste bio-char on the water absorption characteristics of cement pastes

Andrea Nana Ofori-Boadu, Richard Yeboah Abrokwah, Spero Gbewonyo, Elham Fini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of an admixture, Swine-waste Bio-char (SB), on the water absorption characteristics of cement pastes. Design/methodology/approach: The effect of SB percentages, heat treatment temperatures, water/binder ratios, and age on the water absorption percentages (WAPs) of SB modified cement pastes were investigated using scanning electron microscopy-energy dispersive spectra, FTIR, Brunauer-Emmett-Teller, and laboratory experiments. Findings: The WAPs of cement pastes with SBs produced at the low treatment temperature (LTT) of 340°C and 400°C were significantly lower (p<0.01) than pastes with SBs produced at the high treatment temperature (HTT) of 600°C and 800°C. This was attributed primarily to the more dominant presence of hydrophobic alkyl surface groups from non-volatilized matter in LTT-SBs. This had also resulted in lower surface areas and pore volumes in LTT-SBs. As a result of the volatilization of these labile hydrophobic groups at HTT, HTT-SBs were more hydrophilic and had higher surface areas and pore volumes. Consequently, HTT-SB pastes had higher WAPs and no significant differences (p<0.05) existed between HTT-SB pastes and control pastes. Also, low water/binder ratios and aging reduced water absorption of SB modified cement pastes. Practical implications: LTT-SBs reduce water absorption and could reduce concrete deterioration; and as such, associated building repair, maintenance, and adaptation costs. Notably, reductions in concrete water absorption will extend the service life of concrete buildings and infrastructures, particularly in unfavorable environmental conditions. The observed benefits are tempered by the current lack of information on the effects of SB on compression strength, workability, and other durability properties. Social implications: SB utilization in concrete buildings will enhance swine-waste disposal and reduce negative environmental impacts on swine farming communities; consequently, improving their quality of life. Originality/value: Current bio-char research is focused on plant-derived bio-char toward soil remediation and contaminant removal, with very limited applications in concrete. This research advances knowledge for developing livestock-derived bio-char, as a PCRM, toward more sustainable and durable concrete structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)283-299
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Building Pathology and Adaptation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 9 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Bio-char
  • Cement
  • Concrete
  • Sustainability
  • Swine-waste
  • Water absorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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