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ERDA Scientists Develop Polymer-based Soft Composite with Fly-Ash

29 November 2004

The Electrical Research and Development Association (ERDA) are to stimulate eco-awareness by developing composite products using fly ash.

Fly ash, the residue obtained from thermal power plants across the country, is also being used to construct a “Fly Ash Utility Centre” within ERDA’s premises, with the aim to highlight potential applications for fly ash technology.

Vagish Shrinet, Senior Manager at the Technology Demonstration and Commercialisation Centre of ERDA said that ‘We are in the process of developing some fly ash products that would go beyond bricks. The technology demonstration building would incorporate designs like partition walls, tiles, toilet commodes, all made of fly ash”.

A polymer-based soft composite board which can be shaped like traditional wood products has also been developed by the ERDA scientists using around 70% fly ash, which Shirnet adds, “can be cut, sawed, painted, nailed or drilled with nuts and bolts just like wood. We only need to improve the finish of these to make them more appealing. Environment conscious builders and people alike should come forward and adopt this.”

‘‘The Fly Ash Utility Centre would be one its kind demonstrating all products we have developed using the raw material. We have worked out certain products like polymer-based hard and soft boards that can be good green substitutes for burnt clay bricks,’’ Sangita Gulkundi of the Materials Division explains.

ERDA point out that fly ash bricks do not require firing (saving on energy), are cured with water in 28 days, and posses much more compressive strength of fired clay bricks.

The new building technology is aimed at the construction industry to steer builders and architects towards fly ash, which although is more expensive than traditional materials is more environmentally friendly.

The NEC Corporation also recently made a statement regarding its success in developing a flame resistant polycarbonate resin, claiming to cut manufacturing energy consumption by over 20% through the use of fly ash.

Here NEC assert that fly ash boasts a high level of flame resistance necessary for housing plastics in electronic products such as in PCs, without the addition of toxic materials such as halogen compounds that are conventionally found in housing plastics. Use of fly ash is claimed to result in a reduction in material costs, promotion of the protection of the environment due to safety measures regarding the elimination of the use of halogen compounds, and a reduction in manufacturing energy consumption.






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