(230e) Construction Composite Materials As Sustainable End-Use for Coal Extraction Waste

Authors: 
Trembly, J. - Presenter, Ohio University
Al Majali, Y., Ohio University
Daramola, D., Ohio University
The wood plastic composite (WPC) market is significant, with a global value of $4.05 billion in 2015. The largest WPC market segments include building and construction (65%), automotive (18%), and electrical (8%) with the remainder associated with miscellaneous applications. Tremendous growth in global WPC materials production is expected with an 8% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), reaching $8.76 billion in 2023. The use of WPCs in construction applications, especially decking, is increasing tremendously. However, performance issues associated with high wood content engineered composites still exist.

Coal is a potential alternative filler material for composite materials used on construction applications. Utilizing coal residuals located in settling pounds represents an alternative way utilizing this waste material to prevent water pollution and protect the environment. Ohio University (OHIO) and industry partners with the support of the U.S. Department of Energy (DE-FE-0031809) are developing coal plastic composite (CPC) materials for construction applications. CPCs may offer significant advantages over WPCs including lower manufacturing energy intensity and costs, while providing a product with equivalent or superior properties to commercially available WPC products.

CPCs made with subbituminous and bituminous coals have been evaluated and compared to commercially available WPC decking materials. Mechanical testing results indicate CPCs possess higher flexural strength and comparable flexural modulus in comparison to commercial WPC decking products. In addition, CPCs possess oxidation and flammability rating advantages in comparison to WPC, without antioxidant packages.

Aspen Plus simulations and cradle-to-product life cycle analyses (LCAs) developed for WPC and CPC manufacturing indicate CPC products possess advantages in both manufacturing costs and greenhouse gas emissions associated. This presentation will discuss bench-scale CPC R&D and recent commercial-scale CPC manufacturing trials.