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Fanshawe mixes it up with TRY Recycling

When London's TRY Recycling Inc. wanted to find new markets within the building industry for the recycled goods in their yard, they approached Fanshawe's School of Building Technology with an intriguing research request: could crushed mixed glass and asphaltic shingle waste materials be used in concrete?

Faculty members Amneh Kalloush and Dr. Solomon Asantey and three student researchers – Jason King, Lukas Grabowski and Ricardo Mariano – undertook the research and development project in early January 2013. They were later joined by Peter Vander Sterre, Cameron Wilson, Steve MacAulay and some students in the 2014 Construction materials course who also participated in the research.

With plenty of in-house expertise, a state-of-the-art concrete curing room and industry-leading equipment to evaluate concrete strength, the Fanshawe team was well equipped to conduct this work for TRY. The focus of their experimentation was to explore potential uses for granules of recycled solid materials as additives to reduce the amount of aggregates traditionally used in concrete production.

Preliminary research revealed that glass had promising results as a substitute for gravel and sand. Their findings encouraged the team to explore further the potential of other aggregate alternatives, such as recycled roofing shingles, in everyday concrete applications. Experiments indicated that concrete made with glass and shingles as substitutes would be suitable for non-structural use such as sidewalks or countertops.

Fanshawe's research has impressive implications for the recycling and construction industries. Adopting alternate recyclables as concrete aggregates has the potential to reduce dependence on mined aggregates and opens up new markets for recycling plants like TRY. The research results, applied in the industry, could lead to overall cost savings
through elimination of disposal costs and a reduction in energy requirements for manufacturers, not to mention the development of new products for the global marketplace.

The student collaborators presented their research at Fanshawe College's 2013 Student Research & Innovation Day, where they took home the first prize of $1,000.

"This project has provided a real-world, practical learning experience for our students," said Dr. Asantey, adding that the research findings have already been incorporated into the curriculum taught in the Civil Engineering Technology program. "This aligns well with the College's newly-adopted strategic goal to integrate applied research and innovation activity into every post-secondary program and engage more faculty and students in innovation."

The School of Building Technology will have no problem achieving that goal. The initial research with TRY has already created further opportunities for collaboration with external partners. This past fall, discussions began between Fanshawe and Toronto-based Lafarge Canada Inc. on a second phase of the project investigating the suitability of glass and asphaltic shingles wastes as aggregate substitutes in structural concrete. Together with Lafarge's Innovation & Training Centre, the College will soon begin to validate actual concrete applications in the lab and in the field.