# Physical, Mechanical, and Durability Properties of Concrete Containing Wood Chips and Sawdust: An Experimental Approach

^{1}

^{2}

^{3}

^{4}

^{5}

^{*}

## Abstract

**:**

^{3}, compressive strength above 25 MPa, and maximum volume content of wood) were selected to undergo additional experimental tests. These included microstructural characterization, as well as the evaluation of relevant durability (e.g., wetting–drying, freeze–thaw, and thermal shock cycles) and hygrothermal (e.g., thermal conductivity, water absorption, and shrinkage and expansion) properties. All compositions showed compressive strength above 30 MPa. The durability assessment of selected compositions further showed that compressive strength after relevant artificial aging was still higher than the predefined criteria. Promising hygrothermal properties (minimal water absorption and low thermal conductivity) were also recorded.

## 1. Introduction

_{2}sink when producing wood-based concrete. This type of composite could also provide additional functional features, e.g., contributing to thermal and acoustic insulation, and thereby compensating for their reduced mechanical properties [16,17]. Fu et al. [18] highlighted the advantages of using coarse aggregates with beech wood chips to reduce self-weight and improve the thermal insulation of concrete in timber-concrete composite structures. A summary of published studies on the replacement of aggregate by wood particles is given in Table 1.

^{3}), and ensure compressive strength above 25 MPa.

## 2. Materials and Methods

#### 2.1. Characterization of Materials

^{3}and 0.1% to 0.4%, respectively. Both gravels, G0/5 and G1, had 0.1% water content, and S0/4 had 1.6%. The particle size distribution of the mineral aggregates is presented in Figure 1, while their physical properties are summarized in Table 2.

^{3}, respectively, while the saturated surface dry particle density ranged from 1090 to 1110 kg/m

^{3}.

#### 2.2. Mix Design

^{3}(density reduction without compromising strength); to obtain a compressive strength above 25 MPa at 28 days (meeting the requirement of 17 MPa given by ACI 318-08 [30]), and to maximize the volume content of wood (v%). With these aims in mind, 12 mixes were developed by varying the amount of wood chips and sawdust in replacement of the mineral aggregates. In an initial phase, the composites developed were characterized in terms of compressive strength at 7 and 28 days, and in terms of modulus of elasticity and flexural strength at 28 days. Then, in a second phase, 2 of those compositions that complied with the predefined criteria were selected for a more extensive characterization.

#### 2.3. Mechanical, Durability, and Hygrothermal Tests

#### 2.3.1. Physical and Mechanical Characterization

#### Compressive Strength

#### Poisson’s Ratio and Modulus of Elasticity

#### Flexural Strength

#### 2.3.2. Durability

#### Compressive Strength Development

#### Wet–Dry Cycles

#### Freeze–Thaw Cycles

#### Thermal Shock Cycles

#### 2.3.3. Hygrothermal Characterization

#### Thermal Conductivity

#### Water Absorption

^{2}) was determined as a function of the square root of time in seconds.

_{w}

_{24}[kg/(m

^{2}/h

^{0.5})], can be calculated as

^{2}] is the value of ∆m (kg/m

^{2}) after 24 h and $\u2206{m}_{0}$(kg/m

^{2}) is where the linear regression of ∆m function of $\sqrt{t}$ intersects the vertical axis.

#### Shrinkage and Expansion

## 3. Results

#### 3.1. Mechanical Performance

#### 3.1.1. Compressive Strength

^{2}) was found to be close to 1.0, in a range of [0.952 to 0.995], except in the case of the sawdust mix at 28 days, which had an (R

^{2}) below 0.90. Additionally, the relationship between wood amount and compressive strength was linear for both ages (7 and 28 days), regardless of the composition type. Compressive strength development at an early age showed promising results, with only the WC20SD5 composite having a result below 30 MPa.

#### 3.1.2. Dynamic Elastic Properties

^{2}) of 0.963 and 0.819 for the compressive strength and modulus of elasticity, respectively.

^{2}= 0.756) could be seen between the modulus of elasticity and compressive strength results (Figure 11).

#### 3.1.3. Flexural Strength

^{3}, compressive strength above 25 MPa, and maximum volume content of wood), and based on all the results of this section, the two mixes selected to proceed with further characterization were WC25 and WC20SD5, as mentioned before.

#### 3.2. Durability

#### 3.2.1. Compressive Strength Development

#### 3.2.2. Wetting–Drying, Freeze–Thaw, and Thermal Shock Cycles

#### 3.3. Hygrothermal Behavior

#### 3.3.1. Thermal Conductivity

^{2}) of 0.941 was found for the set of samples tested. This means that wood chips and sawdust can be used to produce more sustainable concrete with lower weight and lower thermal conductivity.

#### 3.3.2. Water Absorption

^{2}) greater than 0.970. As expected, the compositions with wood recorded greater absorption than the reference one, although the values were quite small.

#### 3.3.3. Shrinkage and Expansion

## 4. Discussion

#### 4.1. Mechanical Characterization

#### 4.2. Durability

#### 4.3. Hygrothermal Characterization

## 5. Conclusions

^{3}, compressive strength above 25 MPa, and maximum volume content of wood) for further characterization by assessing the durability performance and hygrothermal properties.

## Author Contributions

## Funding

## Institutional Review Board Statement

## Informed Consent Statement

## Data Availability Statement

## Acknowledgments

## Conflicts of Interest

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**Figure 4.**Mechanical characterization tests: (

**a**) compressive strength; (

**b**) dynamic modulus of elasticity; (

**c**) flexural strength.

**Figure 5.**Compressive strength of the wood–concrete samples, mean values, and standard deviation at 7 days and 28 days.

**Figure 7.**Stereoscopic micrographs, indicating some of the mineral aggregates (i) and wood particles (ii) embedded in the cement matrix: (

**a**) REF; (

**b**) WC25; (

**c**) WC20S5.

**Figure 8.**SEM micrographs with and without evidence of micro-cracking in the interface between aggregates and cement matrix in the right and left column, respectively: (

**a**) REF; (

**b**) WC25; (

**c**) WC20S5.

**Figure 9.**Modulus of elasticity of the wood–concrete samples (mean values ± standard deviation) at 7 days and 28 days.

**Figure 12.**Flexural strength (mean values ± standard deviation) for the wood–concrete samples at 28 days.

Reference | Year | Composites Type |
---|---|---|

[7] | 2017 | Sand concrete with a wood-to-cement weight ratio of 1 23 (w/c = 0.26, Portland cement type II A-L 42.5 R). |

[16] | 2007 | Sand concrete incorporating wood shavings with proportions varying from 0 to 100 kg/m^{3}. |

[17] | 2015 | Wood cement compounds based on sawdust and mineralized wood fiber. Different binders were used (standard Portland cement CEM I 52.5, CEM II 42.5 N, and aluminate cement), different wood/cement ratios were considered (0.33 and 0.2) as well as different w/c ratios (0.35 to 0.56). |

[18] | 2020 | Concrete with replacement of 15% in volume of coarse aggregates by wood chip (w/c = 0.598, Portland cement CEMII/B–S 42.5 R). |

[19] | 2022 | Concrete with replacement varying from 0 to 50% of sand by wood chip (w/c = 0.50, Portland cement type I 42.5 N). |

[20] | 2021 | Sand concrete with replacement varying from 0 to 50% of sand by wood chip (w/c = 0.49, Portland cement type I 42.5 N). |

[21] | 2019 | Concrete blocks with replacement varying from 0 to 40% of gravel by wood chip (w/c = 0.41). |

[22] | 2021 | Concrete with replacement varying from 0 to 60% of sand by sawdust while coarse aggregates remain unchanged (w/c = 0.45, Portland cement type II/B-M). |

[23] | 2020 | Concrete with replacement of 15% of coarse aggregates by wood chip (w/c = 0.598, Portland cement type II/B-S 42.5 R). |

[24] | 2018 | Concrete with replacement of varying from 0 to 15% of sand by sawdust while coarse aggregates remain unchanged (w/c = 0.50, Portland cement type I). |

[25] | 2021 | Sand concrete with replacement of varying from 0 to 30% of sand by sawdust (Portland cement type II of class 45). |

[26] | 2022 | Concrete with replacement of cement by fly ash (varying from 0 to 20%), of sand by sawdust (10 and 40%), PET (0 to 60%), or polystyrene (0 and 20%) (w/c = 0.5, Portland cement type II 42.5 R). |

Aggregates | S0/4 | G0/5 | G1 | |
---|---|---|---|---|

Particle density (kg/m^{3}) | Oven dry | 2640 ± 30 | 2620 ± 5 | 2620 ± 20 |

Saturated surface dry | 2650 ± 20 | 2630 ± 10 | 2630 ± 15 | |

Nominal maximum size (mm) | 8 ± 0 | 10 ± 0 | 16 ± 0 | |

24 h water absorption (%) | 0.1 ± 0.0 | 0.4 ± 0.0 | 0.3 ± 0.0 | |

Water content (%) | 1.6 ± 0.2 | 0.1 ± 0.0 | 0.1 ± 0.0 |

Aggregates | Particle Density (kg/m^{3}) | Nominal Maximum Size (mm) | 24 h Water Absorption (%) | Free Surface Water (%) | |
---|---|---|---|---|---|

Oven Dry | Saturated Surface Dry | ||||

Wood chips | 410 ± 20 | 1090 ± 35 | 16 ± 0 | 200 ± 12 | 33 ± 5 |

Sawdust | 340 ± 15 | 1110 ± 60 | 4 ± 0 | 411 ± 59 | 190 ± 24 |

**Table 4.**Concrete compositions containing Sand 0/4 (S0/4), Gravel 0/5 (G0/5), Gravel 1 (G1), wood chips (WC), sawdust (SD), and superplasticizer (SP).

Series | Compositions (kg/m^{3}) | |||||||
---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|---|

Cement | S0/4 | G0/5 | G1 | WC | SD | Added water | SP | |

REF | 400 | 690 | 467 | 674 | - | - | 162 | - |

WC5 | 400 | 626 | 444 | 670 | 43 | - | 133 | 2 |

WC10 | 400 | 562 | 421 | 665 | 86 | - | 105 | 2 |

WC15 | 400 | 498 | 397 | 661 | 128 | - | 76 | 3 |

WC20 | 400 | 434 | 374 | 657 | 171 | - | 48 | 4 |

WC25 | 400 | 370 | 351 | 653 | 214 | - | 19 | 5 |

SD5 | 400 | 598 | 467 | 674 | - | 60 | 113 | 3 |

SD10 | 400 | 507 | 467 | 674 | - | 121 | 65 | 4 |

SD15 | 400 | 415 | 467 | 674 | - | 181 | 16 | 5 |

WC7.5SD7.5 | 400 | 457 | 432 | 667 | 64 | 90 | 46 | 4 |

WC12.5SD7.5 | 400 | 393 | 409 | 663 | 107 | 90 | 18 | 5 |

WC20SD5 | 400 | 342 | 374 | 657 | 171 | 60 | 0 | 5 |

Section | Property | Curing/Conditioning | Test | Series |
---|---|---|---|---|

Mechanical | Compressive strength | Curing in water tank | Compressive strength | all |

Poisson’s ratio and modulus of elasticity | Curing in water tank | Poisson’s ratio and modulus of elasticity | all | |

Flexural strength | Curing in water tank | Flexural strength | REF WC15 WC25 SD15 WC7.5SD7.5 WC20SD5 | |

Durability | Compressive strength development over time (for comparison purposes) | Curing in water tank | Compressive strength | WC25 WC20SD5 |

Wet–dry cycles | Curing in water tank followed by wetting–drying cycles | Compressive strength | WC25 WC20SD5 | |

Freeze–thaw cycles | Curing in water tank followed by freeze–thaw cycles | Compressive strength | WC25 WC20SD5 | |

Thermal shock | Curing in water tank followed by thermal shock | Compressive strength | WC25 WC20SD5 | |

Hygrothermal | Thermal conductivity | Curing in water tank followed by conditioning at ambient conditions | The guarded hot plate method | REF SD15 WC25 WC20SD5 |

Shrinkage and expansion | Shrinkage: curing in climatic chamber Expansion: curing in water tank | Shrinkage and expansion | REF WC25 WC20SD5 | |

Water absorption | Curing in water tank followed by conditioning at ambient conditions | Water absorption coefficient | REF WC25 WC20SD5 |

Series | Density (kg/m^{3}) | Compressive Strength (MPa) | |
---|---|---|---|

28 d | 7 d | 28 d | |

REF | 2303 ± 18 | 57.97 ± 0.42 | 64.27 ± 4.00 |

WC5 | 2248 ± 6 | 55.53 ± 1.53 | 59.90 ± 3.81 |

WC10 | 2201 ± 2 | 49.30 ± 1.35 | 57.67 ± 1.72 |

WC15 | 2170 ± 2 | 46.37 ± 1.60 | 51.97± 4.12 |

WC20 | 2082 ± 9 | 39.60 ± 2.61 | 46.10 ± 1.65 |

WC25 | 2050 ± 15 | 34.80 ± 3.14 | 42.83 ± 1.21 |

SD5 | 2266 ± 33 | 57.30 ± 1.15 | 63.67 ± 3.20 |

SD10 | 2229 ± 14 | 51.10 ± 0.95 | 58.97 ± 1.76 |

SD15 | 2197 ± 24 | 50.37 ± 2.08 | 57.90 ± 1.71 |

WC7.5SD7.5 | 2223 ± 15 | 50.87 ± 0.45 | 56.47 ± 2.61 |

WC12.5SD7.5 | 2130 ± 2 | 42.30 ± 0.50 | 49.03 ± 1.50 |

WC20SD5 | 2057 ± 12 | 31.60 ± 1.21 | 37.73 ± 1.08 |

Series | Dynamic Modulus of Elasticity (GPa) | Poisson’s Ratio | |
---|---|---|---|

7 d | 28 d | 28 d | |

REF | 37.59 ± 0.02 | 39.01 ± 0.34 | 0.32 ± 0.01 |

WC5 | 36.89 ± 0.37 | 38.18 ± 0.73 | 0.34 ± 0.01 |

WC10 | 37.40 ± 0.39 | 38.03 ± 0.01 | 0.33 ± 0.00 |

WC15 | 36.11 ± 0.76 | 37.36 ± 0.16 | 0.34 ± 0.03 |

WC20 | 30.94 ± 1.39 | 32.11 ± 1.49 | 0.32 ± 0.02 |

WC25 | 29.18 ± 2.57 | 31.55 ± 1.27 | 0.30 ± 0.03 |

SD5 | 38.17 ± 0.30 | 38.53 ± 0.02 | 0.33 ± 0.01 |

SD10 | 36.63 ± 0.65 | 36.57 ± 0.30 | 0.33 ± 0.01 |

SD15 | 35.25 ± 0.29 | 35.95 ± 0.37 | 0.34 ± 0.00 |

WC7.5SD7.5 | 34.76 ± 0.21 | 34.46 ± 0.12 | 0.34 ± 0.00 |

WC12.5SD7.5 | 34.54 ± 0.05 | 33.53 ± 1.48 | 0.32 ± 0.02 |

WC20SD5 | 30.11 ± 0.38 | 31.55 ± 0.90 | 0.29 ± 0.03 |

Series | W_{w24}[kg/(m ^{2}⋅h^{0,5})] | Total Water Absorption (%) |
---|---|---|

REF | 0.18 ± 0.03 | 0.9 ± 0.1 |

WC25 | 0.18 ± 0.02 | 1.0 ± 0.1 |

WC20SD5 | 0.19 ± 0.02 | 1.1 ± 0.1 |

Series | Shrinkage (10^{−4}) | Expansion (10^{−5}) |
---|---|---|

REF | 4.45 ± 0.33 | 7.0 ± 1.6 |

WC25 | 2.65 ± 1.67 | 1.9 ± 2.0 |

WC20SD5 | 4.44 ± 0.22 | 1.9 ± 1.8 |

Property | WC25 | WC20SD5 | Reported Values from the Literature | |
---|---|---|---|---|

Physical and Mechanical | Compressive strength at 28 d (MPa) | 42.83 ± 1.21 | 37.73 ± 1.08 | 7.9 ± 0.66 [19] 7.3 [20] ≈11 [21] ≈7 [22] 25.8 ± 3.79 [23] ≈34 [24] |

Density (kg/m ^{3}) | 2050 ± 15 | 2057 ± 12 | 764.06 ± 36.35 [7] 1706 ± 1.55 [19] 2217 [22] 2200 [23] 2173 [24] 2408.4 [44] ^{(a)} 2307 [49] ^{(b)} | |

Poisson’s ratio | 0.30 ± 0.03 | 0.29 ± 0.03 | 0.296 [44] ^{(a)}0.11 [49] ^{(b)}0.241 [50] ^{(c)} | |

Modulus of elasticity (GPa) | 31.55 ± 1.27 | 31.55 ± 0.90 | ≈12 [19] 31.44 [35] ^{(d)}23.98 [44] ^{(a)}48.25 [50] ^{(c)} | |

Flexural strength (MPa) | 5.3 ± 0.35 | 5.02 ± 0.84 | 2.5 [7] 1.8 [20] ≈2 [22] | |

Durability(loss of compressive strength) | Wet–dry cycles (%) | 2 | 2 | - |

Freeze–thaw cycles (%) | 9 | 5 | - | |

Thermal shock (%) | 21 | 26 | - | |

Hygrothermal | Thermal conductivity [W/(m·k)] | 1.24 ± 0.18 | 1.09 ± 0.09 | 2.00 [24] 0.8 [25] 0.89 [26] 1.05 [26] |

Shrinkage | 2.65 ± 1.67 (10^{−4}) | 4.44 ± 0.22 (10^{−4}) | - | |

Expansion | 1.9 ± 2.0 (10^{−5}) | 1.9 ± 1.8 (10^{−5}) | - | |

Water absorption at 24 h (%) | 1.0 ± 0.1 (%) | 1.1 ± 0.1 (%) | 29.7 ± 4.54 [7] 15.1 [19] 17.6 [20] 3.62 [24] |

^{(a)}Mineral concrete (w/c = 0.55, pozzolana Portland cement).

^{(b)}Polyethylene fiber-reinforced concrete (9 kg/m

^{3}of fiber content).

^{(c)}High-performance fiber-reinforced concrete—2% of steel fiber volume (w/c = 0.28, Portland cement type I 52.5 N).

^{(d)}Concrete with replacement of 15% of cement by rubber (w/c = 0.40).

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## Share and Cite

**MDPI and ACS Style**

Dias, S.; Tadeu, A.; Almeida, J.; Humbert, P.; António, J.; de Brito, J.; Pinhão, P.
Physical, Mechanical, and Durability Properties of Concrete Containing Wood Chips and Sawdust: An Experimental Approach. *Buildings* **2022**, *12*, 1277.
https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12081277

**AMA Style**

Dias S, Tadeu A, Almeida J, Humbert P, António J, de Brito J, Pinhão P.
Physical, Mechanical, and Durability Properties of Concrete Containing Wood Chips and Sawdust: An Experimental Approach. *Buildings*. 2022; 12(8):1277.
https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12081277

**Chicago/Turabian Style**

Dias, Sara, António Tadeu, João Almeida, Pedro Humbert, Julieta António, Jorge de Brito, and Pedro Pinhão.
2022. "Physical, Mechanical, and Durability Properties of Concrete Containing Wood Chips and Sawdust: An Experimental Approach" *Buildings* 12, no. 8: 1277.
https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings12081277