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APPLICATION AND SERVICE TEST OF COCONUT FIBER CEMENT BOARDS (CFB) IN AN A-FRAME HOUSE

Posted by agri_center | Posted in Coconut, Engineering/Infrastructure, Research and Development/Product Development | Posted on 28-11-2008 Tags: Add new tag, APPLICATION AND SERVICE TEST OF COCONUT FIBER CEMENT BOARDS (CFB) IN AN A-FRAME HOUSE, coconut fiber cement boards

A 2-storey experimental house with a total floor area of 53 square meters was constructed utilizing coconut fiber-cement boards (CFB) as construction material and component steel as structural framework. It was aimed to demonstrate the use of CFB as alternative construction material for walling, ceiling, roofing and base support in upper level flooring of houses and as component in the fabrication of furniture (tables, chairs, desks, etc.), cabinets, boxes and vases inside the house. The project also aims to evaluate the performance of CFB in actual service condition. The main features of the house include; three (3) bedrooms and a veranda on the upper level and living, dining, cooking areas and toilet and bath on the first level. Experience in the construction of the model house showed that CFB could be effectively applied to simplify home building process in metal-framed construction system in all areas of application. It also showed that the application of CFB could speed up construction time and therefore reduced construction cost. The metal wall frame system consists of 1 thick CFB jointed to the angular

steel bars ( x 1 x 1 ) vertical and horizontal studs equally spaced at center to center distance to suit the width of CFB cladding. On the other hand, roof cover consists of 8 mm thick 75 cm wide and 75 cm long CFB panels painted with waterproof paint. The boards were fastened to the metal purlins (0.60 cm x 3.8 cm x 75 cm channel bars) with the use of umbrella tie wires. For the second level flooring, the 25 mm thick CFBs were used as formwork, base support and at the same time as the ceiling of the first level flooring. Coconut fiberboards were also successfully used as built-in cabinets and boxes inside the house to serve as tables, chair or desk. INTRODUCTION Industrialists in most of the coconut producing countries hail the economic, environmental and technological benefits of utilizing coconut farm wastes. On the farmers side, agricultural residues can be a source of extra income. Traditionally, coconut farmers dispose the husks, spate, petiole and leaves by burning or allowing these farm wastes to rot in the field. However, worldwide interest in using farm residues for value-added products means that farmers can generate additional income aside from amassing environmental dividends. Studies have shown that burning of agricultural wastes causes air pollution, soil erosion and even a decrease in soil biological activity that can eventually lead to decreased soil fertility. On the other hand, allowing farm residues to rot in the field may improve the productivity of the soil but the process of decomposition is very slow leading to accumulation of piles of agricultural wastes that can cause Phytosanitary problem to the coconut plantation, since decaying debris is ideal breeding place for coconut pest like the rhinoceros beetle. Using agricultural and forest residues for industrial purposes is a much more environment-safe and friendly more than any other method of wastes disposal being commonly adopted nowadays. Research and development in the construction industry are shifting towards exploration of cellulose farm wastes and forest residues processing and production for building materials. The tremendous potential of agricultural and forest residues can be a solution to the problem of inadequate supply and high cost of conventional timbers and dependence from imported building materials. Current R & D efforts in the field of building materials should be supportive of policies of most governments that are aimed in the promotion of import substitution schemes, employment generation and self-reliance. The enormous amount of residues that shall be generated from the farm and forest plantation would then make a stable source of alternative materials for the purpose of building affordable housing units for the majority of the countrys population. Building materials from agricultural and forest wastes are ideal for socialized or low-cost housing since these are generally cheaper than conventional materials. For example, residues from coconut plantation like husks, fronds and spate can be processed and transformed into excellent stabilized cement-bonded boards or wall panels and corrugated roofing sheets at a much reduced production cost than the conventional cement blocks, galvanized iron sheets, asbestos panels or plywood sheets. Likewise, rice hull/straw, corn stalks, abaca wastes and sugar cane bagasse are locally available materials that can be readily used in manufacturing cement-bonded boards. In addition, indigenous and small diameter trees like bagalunga (Melia dubia Cav.), giant ipil-ipil [Leucaena leucocephala (Lam) de Wit] and other fast-growing trees are abundant in coconut plantations particularly in Mindanao, Philippines, either as intercropped or naturally-grown, which can be economically processed into cement-bonded boards.

Coconut fiber cement board as construction material A coconut fiber-cement board (CFB) is a product manufactured from fibrous materials like coconut coir, fronds, spathes and shredded wood that are mixed with Portland cement at a predetermined ratio of 60-70% cement to 30-40% fiber by weight. CFB is made by forming the cement-fiber mixture into mats and pressing them to the desired thickness ranging from 8 mm to 25 mm. The board measures 244 cm long by 61 cm wide. The board density varies from 600kg/cu. m. to 750-kg/cu. m. Previous studies conducted at PCA-ZRC have shown that CFB panels have good strength properties and high dimensional stability when soaked in water (water absorption of 32% and thickness swelling of 4.2%) surpassing the minimum requirements set by PHILSA-Standard 1051975. It has low thermal conductivity (k-value 0f 0.90 W/mk), which indicates its excellent insulation properties, thus it can be used as roofing materials even without the provision of ceiling. Flame test showed that while the board can be burned, it is rather slow with minimal smoke emission. The recently concluded study on the exposure test of paint-coated CFB roof sheets has demonstrated the capability of the material to withstand the deleterious effect of weathering found in actual service condition. The same study also showed that by using Boysen and Dutch Boy brands of paints a much superior performance of roof boards could be expected. These two types of coating material have exhibited the ability to provide maximum protections from weathering that other brands of paints failed to give. OBJECTIVES This project was designed to demonstrate and evaluate the use of coconut fiber-cement board (CFB) in a simplified process of house construction wherein CFBs are used as walling, roof sheathing, ceiling and as both base support and formwork of the upper-level flooring with component steel as main structural framework. It also aimed to demonstrate the use CFB as a component in the fabrication of furniture (tables, chairs, desks, etc.), built-in cabinets, boxes and vases inside the house. MATERIALS AND METHODS

Manufacturing Process of CFB Coconut fiber cement boards were produced based on the steps described below. There are three major components in the manufacture of coco fiber-wood-cement board, namely, (a) coconut residues consisting of husk, spathe, peduncle, petiole and leaf sheathe, (b) wood excelsior and (c) cement. 1. Processing of coconut fiber residues * Cutting the spathe, peduncle, petiole and leaf sheath into 42 cm long. * Soaking of husk, spathe, peduncle, petiole and leaf sheath in tap water for 18 to 24 hours. * Decorticating separately the saturated husk, spathe, peduncle and leaf sheath to produce fiber and dust. Only fiber is used in board production while the dust may be used as soil conditioner. * Shredding the petiole to produce curled shavings. 2. Soaking the coconut fiber and shavings in separate dipping tanks (each tank with a capacity of 12 cu. m.) full of water for two days to leach out extractives. 3. Collecting the coconut fiber and shavings from the dipping tanks and allowing water to drain from the residues and excelsior for about 5 minutes. 4. Weighing separately the fiber and cement with a ratio of 30 % coconut fibers and 70% cement. 5. Mixing separately the required amount of coconut fiber and excelsior with cement in a blending machine. 6. Mat forming using wooden forming boxes and flat steel cauls lined with polyethylene sheets. Three layers of mat are formed to produce a CFB. The first layer is a mixture of shavings and cement, the second is a mixture of coconut fiber and cement, and the last layer is the same mixture as in the first layer. Viewed In cross-section, the coconut fiber layer is embedded in-between the excelsior layers. The coconut fiber serves as reinforcement to improve the strength properties of the board. 7. Pressing the mat to the desired thickness-using guide bars, hydraulic press and clamping apparatus. Twenty-five layers of CFB can be pressed at the same time for approximately 10 minutes and then securely clamped or fastened using wooden moulds, bolts and nuts that serve as clamping apparatus. 8. The fastened/clamped CFB is removed from the hydraulic press and another set of 25 layers CFB is again prepared for pressing following steps 7 and 8. About six pressing operations can be attained per day giving a daily output of 150 boards. 9. After 18 to 20 hours under pressure, the boards are removed from the clamping apparatus and properly piled using 25 cm x 25 cm x 60 cm wooden sticks to provide air circulation (filletstacking) during the initial 24-hour air drying and conditioning.

10. Trimming the edges of the boards to the desired dimensions. 11. Fillet-stacking for further drying and conditioning for about one week. Construction of CFB Model House A 2-storey experimental house with a total floor area of 53 square meters was constructed utilizing coconut fiber-cement boards as building materials and component steel as structural framework. The main features of the house include; three (3) bedrooms and a veranda on the upper level and living, dining, cooking areas and toilet and bath on the first level. Since CFB is lightweight material and can easily be handled and transported, the need for special on-site equipment during the construction process was eliminated. CFB components as walls, partitions, roofing, flooring and ceiling were assembled on site and were fixed in metal frame systems using specially devised metal fasteners, such as butterfly connectors, rivets, tie wire or G.I. sheet bands. To minimize cutting of board materials and to reduce wastes, the wall spaces, studs and frames were set in conformity to the actual sizes of the CFBs. The two general types of CFBs used were coconut fiber-coir dust composite panels and the wood excelsior-coir fiber blend with standard mixture of 70% cement and 30% fiber and density range of 600 to 650 kg/cu. m. Different house components utilized different densities of CFBs. Boards having density of 650kg/cu. m. were used for flooring while CFBs with 600 kg/cu. m. density were used as walls, partitions, roofing and cabinets or furniture components. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Walling System The walling system was designed to use steel angular bars as studdings and paint-coated coconut fiberboards as wall sheathing materials. To minimize cutting of board materials on site and to reduce wastes, the wall spaces, studs and frames were set in conformity to the actual sizes of the CFBs. Thus, the vertical and horizontal studs were spaced exactly equal to the dimensions of CFB wall panels. Steel angular bars with dimensions, 0.60 cm x 3.80 cm x 3.80 cm ( x 1 x 1 ) were used as vertical and horizontal studs set equally at center to center distance of 56 cm (22) apart. They were welded to the 5 cm x 5 cm x 0.6 cm (2 x 2 x ) bottom plates connected to the steel columns, made of 6.25 cm x 6.25 cm joined angular bars, anchored on the solid concrete footing. At the top, the studs were connected to the top beams, which in turn served as the base plate of the second level flooring. These important elements like studs, bottom plates, columns, top plates were interconnected with each other so that the whole house will act as one integral unit strong enough to resist natural forces. a. Wall Panels Installation Two types of metal fasteners were used to hold the board and the studs together. From the interior, the walls were connected to the studs by narrow strips of Gauge 16 galvanized iron plates measuring 10 cm x 60 cm (4 x 24). Likewise, the boards were clipped to the vertical studs by

short pieces of metal straps (#16 G.I. plate) called butterfly connectors measuring 50cm x 75 cm (2 x 3). The CFB wall panels that measure 2.54 cm x 60 cm x 120 cm were installed vertically along its length on the steel frames. They were mounted individually starting from the bottom to the top and progressing from one corner to the other end.

Roofing System The house has A-frame design with the roof system consisting of the traditional rafters and purlins construction. Roof cover is made of 8 mm thick, 75 cm wide, and 75 cm long CFB panels painted with waterproof paints. The rafters consist of 0.6 cm X 5 cm x 5 cm angular steel bars and the purlins made of 0.60 cm x 3.8 cm x 75 cm channel bars. The components were assembled on site by welding the members together. The two opposite rafters were joined together end to end at the ridge beam (0.60 cm x 5 cm x 5 cm angular steel bar) while the other ends were directly connected to the base plate of the second level floor extending to the eaves or overhang of about one (1) meter. The main roof structure was made to incline by about 40% greater than the normal slope of 35 degrees considering that the roof cover is made of experimental fiber-cement boards. This will ensure faster surface water run-off in case of downpour. The roof inclination was adjusted to about 35 degrees at the ventilators in order to compare the effect of the pitch pattern on the service life of fiberboard roofs. Roof Sheathing Installation Fiberboards pre-cut to dimensions of 75 cm wide x 75 cm long with thickness of 8 mm and density of 600 kg/cu. m. were used as roof sheathing materials. They were coated with an oil-based exterior paint prior to installation to provide them the necessary protection from weathering. The paint used was a highly elastic type of roof paint which has been previously tested to CFB and was found out to be resistant to cracking and peeling and has excellent weather resistance property. The roof boards were mounted individually on top of the steel C- bars purlins set at center-tocenter distance of 40 cm. Using an electric drill, a hole was bored directly on the overlapped edges of two succeeding boards. Starting from the ridge and progressing towards the lower side of the roof gable, the boards were installed by inserting the umbrella tie wire into the hole and then

tightly fastened underneath to the steel purlins. Upper-level Flooring System For the second level flooring, the 25 mm thick CFBs were used as formwork, base support and at the same time serves as the ceiling of the first level flooring. The 25 mm thick CFBs were first laid on the 0.6 cm X 5 cm x 5 cm (1/4 x 2 x 2) angular steel bars floor joists, which were set equally at center-to-center distance of 40 cm. Reinforcement bars (matted wires) were then set on top of the boards at 20-30 cm center-to-center distance covering the central portion of the boards. Gaps and small openings that can be spotted on the adjoined edges of the formwork were filled up with cement before laying a concrete footing. Finally, a 50 mm thick concrete was poured over the floor area. The top surface was prepared for finishing. Built-In Cabinets and Boxes To show the versatility of coconut fiber-cement boards, they were installed as built-in cabinets or utility boxes inside the house to serve the dual purpose of storage and desk, table or chair. CFB material was used in combination with wood frames and assembled with the use of wooden dowels and screws. The resulting products have attractive finishing characteristics and light in weights making them suitable for small areas where they can be easily moved and rearranged. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION Initial findings of this study have indicated the vast potential of coconut fiber-cement boards as alternative materials for house and building construction and similar application in cabinets and furniture components. CFB is a versatile construction material and totally impervious to termites, weather and fungus resistant that makes it suitable for many types of applications, foremost of which are the roofing and walling. While the actual performance of the boards in service condition remains to be seen, the CFB may be considered as one of present- day technological development as substitute construction material to improve the traditional construction system for low cost housing, given the technology for manufacture and manual for construction. There are numerous possible variations in the use of the CFB and those presented here are only some of the uses so far identified by the authors. Modifications can be tried considering the inherent properties of the boards. Written By: Luisito J. Peamora and Gerardo A. Santos Source: www.neda.gov.ph

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