Cereal straw is an abundantly available agricultural by-product with attractive mechanical performance and cost position for reinforcement of cement-based products. The composition of straw, however, is distinguished from that of wood by the presence of relatively large quantity extractives with potentially strong inhibitory effects on strength development of cement. Thin-sheet fiber cement products offer attractive technical, economic and aesthetic qualities for use in diverse building construction applications, including siding and tile backerboard. Commercially successful thin-sheet fiber cement products generally utilize chemically processed wood pulp or mechanically milled wood as reinforcement for achieving enhanced levels of flexural strength, toughness and workability. Cereal straw offers a slender geometry which favors their mechanical processing as replacement for milled wood in thin-sheet cement products. As a renewable resource and as a generally low-valued agricultural residue, straw offers economic and environmental advantages for replacement of wood in thin-sheet cement products. The differences in composition of wood and straw should be considered in devising pre-treatment techniques for use of straw in conjunction with cement. Such pre-treatments should address the potential for inhibitory effects of some straw constituents on strength development of cement.
- Strength development