Nanomodified Cementitious Composites Incorporating Waste Polymer Microfibers for Durable and Environmentally Friendly Infrastructure

Used face masks resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic are forming a new waste stream that poses a considerable environmental risk to the ecosystem if not properly disposed of. Typically, single-use medical masks are made of polypropylene (PP) or polyester fabric, and they are extremely difficult to be naturally degraded. Another similar waste stream is induced by the vast quantity of waste textiles (e.g., waste clothes), which also mainly contain polypropylene or polyester products. Based on the published research of PP fiber-reinforced cementitious composites, the research team proposes to convert the waste medical masks/textiles into cost-effective PP microfibers that can replace the more expensive commercial PP microfibers used by the concrete industry. To this end, this proposed project will build on the team’s previous research experience, which relates to fiber-reinforced cementitious composites and nanotechnology for concrete, and then develop nanomodified microfiber-reinforced cementitious composites (nm-FRCCs) featuring comparable engineering performance with cementitious composites reinforced by commercial polymer microfibers. At the first stage of this work, the laboratory study aims to do the following: (1) Convert waste masks/textiles to microfibers that feature comparable diameter with commercial concrete industry-adoptive PP fibers, and (2) Fabricate nmFRCCs that feature promising mechanical properties and durability performance. Specifically, nanomaterials (graphene oxide and nanoclay) will be introduced to modify the waste mask/textile fibers (WM/TFs) and thus enhance the interfacial transition zone (ITZ) between the fibers and the cementitious matrix. To further investigate the influence of nanomaterials on the engineering performance of nmFRCCs, the scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX), Thermogravimetry analysis (TGA), Differential Scanning Calorimetry (DSC), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), Electron probe microanalysis (EPMA), and X-ray diffraction analysis (XRD) will be employed to illustrate the hydration mechanisms (especially the interfacial hydration process) of nmFRCCs and to shed light on how the constituent materials affect the mechanical strengths and durability performance of the nmFRCCs.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $180856
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transportation Infrastructure Durability & Life Extension

    Washington State University
    Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Pullman, Washington  United States  99164

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Transportation Infrastructure Durability & Life Extension

    Washington State University
    Civil & Environmental Engineering
    Pullman, Washington  United States  99164
  • Project Managers:

    Kline, Robin

  • Performing Organizations:

    Washington State University, Pullman

    Civil & Environmental Engineering Department
    PO Box 642910
    Pullman, WA  United States  99164-2910
  • Principal Investigators:

    Shi, Xianming

  • Start Date: 20220531
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230930
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers
  • Subprogram: Transportation Infrastructure Durability and Life Extension

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01857862
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: National Center for Transportation Infrastructure Durability and Life-Extension
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551947137
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Sep 16 2022 11:11AM