Biodegradable fiber-reinforced polymer composites for construction applications

C. Rivera-Gomez and C. Galan-Marn Universidad de Seville, Seville, Spain


The present chapter focuses on the use of natural polymers for building applications, such as soil stabilizers to made bricks, blocks, or panels. Fired or unfired bricks (namely adobe bricks) are the most common material option extensively used for housing involving load-bearing walls. There are many other high demand applications for blocks and bricks, such as building envelope, paving elements, sewage wells, etc. among other uses.

Brick as a construction material has been widely used through history and brick technologies also have a long-lasting tradition, including the sustainable use of unfired clay bricks. Unfired bricks are an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional masonry materials, such as fired bricks and concrete blocks, although their use is limited by their relatively poor mechanical and durability properties.

This chapter intends to analyze biodegradable fiber-reinforced polymer composites for construction applications such as unfired bricks, blocks, or panels. As in any composite, these materials are composed of a polymer and a matrix. This research is focused on the use of natural biodegradable polymers to stabilize a natural fiber- reinforced soil matrix. Hence, the key issues, such as type of polymer, fiber characteristics, and soil composition, will be analyzed. In order to enhance the use of these materials in building construction, environmental analysis will also be included.

Section 4.2 will mainly explore the types of polymers used in construction. Section 4.3 will explore the characteristics of the soil and its response in terms of mechanical properties and compactness. The next Section, 4.4, will discuss the influence of the type of fiber. The environmental performance of these materials applied in construction will be evaluated in Section 4.5. Future trends and potential fields of research relating to the different variables that determine the properties of this type of building materials will also be enunciated.

Natural Fiber-Reinforced Biodegradable and Bioresorbable Polymer Composites. DOI:

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