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Improving Compressed Laterite
Bricks using Powdered Eggshells
Peter Paa-Koﬁ Yalley
St rength Improvement of Mud Houses Through Stabilization of the Laterit ic Materials
The Ijes The Ijes
UNESCO-NIGERIA TECHNICAL & VOCATIONAL EDUCATION REVITALISATION PROJECT-PHASE II YEAR I…
Christ opher Nkanga
MODULE: CONST RUCTION TECHNOLOGY CODE: IWE102 IRRIGATION AND WATER ENGINEERING YEAR O…
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The International Journal Of Engineering And Science (IJES)
|| Volume || 5 || Issue || 4 || Pages || PP -65-70|| 2016 ||
ISSN (e): 2319 – 1813 ISSN (p): 2319 – 1805
www.theijes.com The IJES Page 71
Improving Compressed Laterite Bricks using Powdered Eggshells
Francis Adogla1, Peter Paa Kofi Yalley2, Moses Arkoh3
1Project Engineer/Supervisor, Wilhelm Building and Civil Works Limited
2Department of Design and Technology Education, University of Education, Kumasi
3WASH Engineer, Global Communities, Ghana
Eggshells are notable agricultural wastes indiscriminately disposed on the environment. Coupled with their foul
smell they tend to create an unpleasant environment wherever they could be found. As a way of improving this
situation, an alternative use for these products have found identified by using it to improve the engineering
properties of compressed laterite bricks for masonry purposes. This paper reports the results of a study
evaluating the use of powdered eggshells on the compressive strength and durability characteristics of
compressed laterite bricks. Laterite bricks were produced with varying quantities of eggshells which comprised
of 0%, 10%, 20%, 30% and 40% by weight of laterite. Compressed laterite bricks showed improvements in all
the tests conducted after the inclusion of the powdered eggshells. Powdered eggshells were deemed appropriate
for improving the general characteristics for compressed bricks although the optimum quantity was attained at
Keywords – Compressed bricks, laterite, powdered eggshells, soil improvement.
Date of Submission: 01 April 2016 Date of Accepted: 14 April 2016
The focus of a good national development is to look inward with the intent of mobilizing all natural resources for
economic purposes. Although, one of the policy thrusts of governments over the years in Ghana has been to
provide affordable housing for the citizenry. Studies have indicated that, this has hardly materialized due to the
billowing prices of conventional building materials. Due to this, studies and researches have been focused on
indigenous materials which can adequately wholly or partially replace conventional walling units such as
sandcrete blocks and bricks in the building construction industry.
Such indigenous alternative is the use of laterite which for years has been a dependable building material for
various types of houses with notable advantages especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although, laterite is one of
the naturally occurring building materials in Ghana it potentials are yet to be fully exploited. Major hindrances to
its use for building purposes have been attributed to its low compressive strength and its vulnerability to
moisture especially in its compressed (unburnt) state.
Although, laterites used for producing bricks for masonry walls have been improved by the use of cement,
bitumen or lime the quest for alternative cost effective replacement materials cannot be underrated due to their
price hikes. Studies (King’ori, 2011 Gowsika et al., 2014; Karthick et al., 2014; Bashir and Manusamy, 2015)
have over the years revealed that the chemical composition of lime is relatively similar to the of poultry
eggshells indicating the potential that they could also be effectively recycled to improve the engineering
properties of laterites. Eggshells are residues from the poultry industry and more specifically a popular waste
found in homes, restaurants and fast foods industries. These residues possess environmental nuisance as they
increase the cost of managing disposal sites, creates foul smell and flies in areas where they are found in large
quantities. The shells of poultry eggs according to Murakami and Rodrigues (2007) are approximately 11% of
the total weight of the egg. Studies (Hassan et al., 2012; Dhaliwal et al., 2013) conducted on eggshells shows
high calcium contents ranging between 94% and 98% whiles the reminder consists of other micro elements such
as sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, boron and carbon in traced amounts. King’ori (2011) reiterated that the
calcium content found in eggshells is more absorbable than those from limestone or coral sources.
The concept of utilizing eggshells to improve compressed laterites bricks tends not only to improve the
engineering properties of the bricks but also reduce wastes and associated costs and lessen landfills.
Strategically, this alternative use of eggshells could create substantial revenue for both potential recyclers and
communities where poultry farming is their priority. Even though, eggshells are common wastes materials in
Ghana, its suitability as a laterite improving material have not been fully investigated. This study sorts to explore
the feasibility of utilizing powdered eggshells to improve the properties of compressed laterite bricks for
Improving Compressed Laterite Bricks using...
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II. EXPERIMENTAL MATERIALS AND METHODS
The main materials used in this study were laterite and eggshells whiles water was used for mixing. The various
materials have been discussed in this section.
2.1 Processing of Laterite
The laterite samples used in the study were sourced from an excavation pit in Cape Coast where laterites are
obtained on commercial basis for construction purposes. Laterite samples were bagged and taken to the
laboratory before processing. The materials were sieved using 10mm mesh to eliminate stones and gravels which
tend to bond poorly when producing compressed bricks Oshodi (2004). The index properties of the laterite were
investigated according to BS 1377 (1990) before bricks production.
2.2 Processing of Eggshells
The empty broken eggshells were procured from local restaurants and fast food vendors within the Cape Coast
municipality. The broken eggshells (as shown in Fig. 1) were boiled in water to remove any egg residue which
might still be attached onto the surface of the shells membrane before drying them in the sun. Dried eggshells
were milled into fine particles using a laboratory milling machine (grinder) as depicted in Figure 1.
Figure 1 Processing of Eggshells (Before and after powdering)
Drinkable water without dirt or deleterious materials was used in the mixing.
2.4 Chemical Composition of Powdered Eggshells
The Oxides present in the powdered eggshells were analysed using the X-ray Fluorescence technique. This was
done by mixing 4.0g of the ash sample homogenously with 0.9 grams of Hoechst wax in a mill before pressing
with a hydraulic press at 15 tons to a 32mm pellet. Multi-element determinations from the prepared pellet were
carried out using an energy-dispersive polarizing X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (Manu et al., 2015). The
compositions of the powdered eggshells have been presented in Table 3.
2.5 Preparation of Compressed bricks Specimen
Batching of materials was done by weight. The powdered eggshells and laterite samples were thoroughly mixed
together in different proportions by varying the eggshells contents. The powdered eggshells were added in stages
of 10%; thus ranging from 0% (being the least) to the highest of 40%. This was done to determine the influence
of the powdered eggshells on the compressed bricks so that other higher quantities could be predicted.
Mixing of materials was done in a clean tray before a predetermined water content (attained after conducting the
compaction test) was added. Table 1 demonstrates the quantity of each sample used in the production of each
batch. The carefully batched materials were initially mixed before adding water. Further, mixing was done until a
wet homogenous material was obtained. The moist specimen was placed in a metal mould box with dimension;
200mm × 100mm × 75mm after which it was compressed using a manually operated moulding machine.
After compacting, the compressed bricks were covered with plastic sheets under ambient conditions with the sole
aim of reducing rapid evaporation of moisture which could cause dry shrinkage, cracks and other undesirable
defects on the bricks. The compressed bricks were cured for 28days before investigating their properties and
suitability for masonry applications.
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Table 1 Quantity of Materials used for moulding each Batch
Laterite with 0% PES (Control batch)
Laterite with 10% PES
Laterite with 20% PES
Laterite with 30% PES
Laterite with 40% PES
2.6 Testing of Compressed bricks
The study sorts to determine the suitability of using eggshells to improve the properties of compressed bricks.
Tests conducted comprised of the crushing tests, water absorption by capillarity rise and abrasion resistances
characteristics. The dry density of the bricks was also explored. In all, five bricks specimens with good
appearance were randomly selected from each batch for each test as stipulated by most standards. All
experimental studies were conducted after curing the compressed bricks for 28 days.
The dry densities of the compressed bricks were taken after drying the specimen in the oven for 24 hours at a
temperature of 105ºC. The compressive strength of the bricks were conducted as per GS 297-1 (2000)
specification. The durability properties studied which included the water absorption and abrasion resistance
characteristics were investigated as specified by the African Regional Standards for Compressed Earth Blocks
(Adam and Agip, 2004).
III. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
Preliminary tests on the laterite revealed the following (as presented in Table 2) as the index properties.
Generally, the laterite used was found suitable for construction and other engineering applications as it had
sufficient amount of clay content to ensure effective bonding between the various particles within the soil matrix.
Calcium oxide (CaO) was detected as the highest oxide in the powdered eggshells as seen in other studies
(Karthick et al., 2014; Gowsika, 2014).
Table 2: Properties of Laterite used
Particle size Classification
Cu = 2.60: Cc = 0.83
Plasticity Chart Classification
Organic clay of high plasticity
Natural moisture content
Free Swell Index
Sand / Gravel content
Maximum Dry Density
Optimum Moisture Content
Table 3 Oxide present in the Powdered Eggshells
Calcium Oxide (CaO)
Sodium Dioxide (Na2o)
Silicon Dioxide (SiO2)
Magnesia Oxide (MgO)
Ferrous Oxide (Fe203)
% Retained in 425um
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Table 4: Properties of Compressed Laterites samples with Powdered Eggshells
Laterite + 0% PES
Laterite +10% PES
Laterite +20% PES
Laterite +30% PES
Laterite +40% PES
Compressive Strength: The test was to determine the strength development of specimens with varying
eggshells at both primary and secondary curing ages (28 and 56 days curing ages). Compressive strength is
arguably the most important requirement a walling unit for both load and non-load bearing walls must have. The
compressive strengths of brick specimens generally increased as the eggshells contents increased. Data also
showed an increase as the curing ages increased from 28 days to 56 days a phenomenon common with materials
used as binders such as cement, lime, fly ash etc.
After 28 days curing age, only compressed laterite bricks with 20% and 30% eggshell content met the
acceptability limit for masonry purposes as stipulated by GS 297-1 (2000). As the curing age increased, only
laterite without eggshells failed to meet the recommended minimum compressive strength of 2.5N/mm2.
The increase in the strength characteristics with increasing eggshells was attributed to the calcium ions which
react with the clay to form cementitious matrix thus improving the bond between the soil particles.
Density: Bricks used in the study had their densities within the range of 1500kg/m3 – 2400kg/m3 as specified by
BS 6073 for dense aggregates masonry units. The mean dry density of the ricks increased steadily as the
eggshells content increased as depicted in Table 4. The increase in the dry density of the bricks could be
attributed to the increasing eggshell content which influenced the overall density of the batch as the quantity
Water Absorption by Capillarity: This test investigated the ability of the bricks specimen to absorb water after
partially immersing them in water for 10 minutes. Generally, specimen with high coefficients indicates high
absorption rate thus high porosity whiles specimen with low coefficients are less porous thus absorbing lesser
amount of water. Data as presented in Table 4 shows a gradual dip as the eggshells increased from 0% to 30%
before rising slightly. This phenomenon associated with increasing eggshells could be attributed to the
decreasing volume of voids which have been filled with the eggshell particles therefore minimising the
permeability of the bricks. It could also be affiliated to the increasing calcium ions which tend to improve the
cementing properties within the soil matrix similar to that of conventional lime.
Abrasion Resistance: Bricks specimens were subjected to abrasion by brushing for 60 continuous cycles using
a wire brush. Higher abrasion resistance coefficients showed higher bond strength between particles whereas
specimen exhibiting lower coefficients showed weaker bonds. Data derived from the study (in Table 4) showed
that bricks with 30% eggshells exhibited higher resistance to abrasion (wear) whiles the control batch (without
eggshells) were showed the least resistance to wear.
The results of the study showed that the powdered eggshells has substantial amount of Calcium compounds
(64.8%). At 28 days curing age, compressive strength of the bricks increased by 31.8%, 53.7%, 60.3% and 1.6%
as the eggshells content were 10%, 20%, 30% and 40% respectively. The powdered eggshells significantly
improved the density, compressive strength and durability characteristics of the laterite bricks when compared
with the conventional compressed laterite bricks. Data from the study revealed that the optimum amount of
powdered eggshells was attained after 30% addition. Furthermore, the use of powdered eggshells for
construction applications could reduce environmental pollution, and improve the quality of compressed laterite
bricks. This can also help to effectively manage this agro-waste material by turning it into an additive or
Further studies are recommended to be conducted using eggshells ash as a stabilizer for soils with different
properties for masonry purposes.
Improving Compressed Laterite Bricks using...
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