Fashionable people may turn up their noses at jute — the cheap fiber used to make burlap, gunny sacks, twine and other common products — but new research is enhancing jute’s appeal as an inexpensive, sustainable reinforcement for mortar and concrete. The study appears in ACS’ journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.
Subhasish Majumder and colleagues note that there has been a resurgence of interest in using economical, sustainable natural fibers, rather than steel or synthetic fibers, to reinforce the cement compositions used to make concrete and mortar, the world’s most widely used building materials. That reinforcement makes cement compositions stronger and more resistant to cracks. Their previous research showed that jute works as a reinforcement fiber.
The new study discovered another advantage of jute, which is second only to cotton as the most widely used natural fiber. The addition of jute fibers also delays the hardening of concrete and mortar, which must be trucked to construction sites. “The prolonged setting of these fiber-reinforced cement composites would be beneficial for applications where the pre-mixed cement aggregates are required to be transported from a distant place to construction site,” the report states.