In sever air pollution to the north part

In the last few decades, the enormous growth of
polymer matrix composite(PMC) has been witnessed due to their superior
mechanical properties over homogenous materials1. This has significantly affected
the environment due to non-degradable nature2. Since these synthetic resins and
fibers are carcinogenic, it also created lot of health related issues to the
workers 3. These issues are addressed to an
extent by using natural fibers and organic adhesives as binders 4. Due to the high  manufacturing cost of polymer based
composites, they are not used as an alternate building material5. The building materials are produced
by reinforcing natural fibers with inorganic binder materials such as gypsum,
clay, Portland cement, Calcium silicate (CaSiO2) and MgO6. It is believed that the natural fiber
reinforced composite (NFRC) with inorganic material as binder offers required thermo-physical
and acoustic properties as prescribed by various standards 7,8 . Since the natural
lignocellulosic fibers extracted from the straw, skin, leaf, seed and fruit are
highly porous in nature, they are preferred in many applications 9.The rice straw is an agricultural
waste which are commonly burnt across India and subsequently causing sever air
pollution to the north part of India during winter 10. It is reported that the average
air quality index during November and December months in the Country’s capital
New Delhi is around 481 due to the burning of farm fields. Therefore, it is
essential to provide an alternate solution to the farmers to convert the agro
wastes into value added product for the sustainable development of the villages11.

 

A good built environment is expected to have
good thermal comfort, acoustic environment and sufficient lighting whilst
consuming less energy and they are achieved by using appropriate interior
materials12.The commonly used interior
materials are fiber reinforced mineral boards such as wood wool boards and
cement boards of which wood wool boards are widely used due to their superior
physical, thermal and acoustic properties 13. A plethora of literature is
available on the usage of agro wastes as building materials 3 .For instance, Han-Seung Yang
investigated the effect of fiber length on mechanical and water absorption
properties of  particle board made up of  rice straw with  Urea-formaldehyde or Polymeric diphenylmethane
as binders 14,15 .Similarly, Magda Emil and team
studied the tensile, acoustic and water absorption properties of rice straw reinforced
with recycled polystyrene foam wastes16. Although some natural fibers
such as sisal, hemp coconut fiber and durian are mixed with inorganic materials
such as lime stone, Magnesium oxide and cement17, their availability is scarce and
consumes significant time in extracting the fibers with heavy usage of
chemicals1,5 . To our knowledge, the rice straw
is not used for developing interior materials for built environment17 . Although the straw of rice and
wheat are used as cattle feed, mushroom cultivation and in packaging
industries, large quantity of straw are still burnt which is causing severe
environmental problems 18 . 
The increasing demand of wood wool based products not only result in
deforestation but also making the boards are expensive 17 . Therefore, usage of alternate
materials using such fibrous materials are necessary for providing better
thermal insulation and acoustic environment.The
samples were cut with a dimension of 150 mm x 100 mm as suggested by ATSM D 1038 standard
and the 5 samples were used initially and tested for water absorption and
swelling properties. The
cut sample was completely immersed in a water tray and their weight and
thickness were measured at an interval of 2 hours as mentioned in the standard.
Since the pilot study proved to be consistent, the number
samples required for the test was determined by conducting P test in ANOVA
using Minitab and the results are shown in Table 1 . Since the variation is less than
1% and the number of samples used for each test was reduced from 5 to 3.
Therefore, 3 samples were tested for each condition. Based on ANNOVA results,
various combination of mixture ratio of straw and binder, thickness of the
board and fiber length were manufactured .the density value of different
thickness of the board is shown in Figure 2,Figure 3
and Figure 4 .

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According to ASTM D -1037, water absorption and
swelling tests were conducted.  The
sample was cut with a dimension of (152mm X 152mm). and they were immersed in a
tray filled with tap water. The weight and thickness of each sample were
measured at an interval of two hours by removing the sample out of the water
tray and left for 10 minutes as mentioned in the standard.

Methods for microbial susceptibility
assessment:

As a
pilot study, the susceptibility of fungal growth was studied with gypsum board,
wood wool board and primer painted rice straw mineral board. Fresh samples with
a dimension of 10 mm X 10mm were kept in the sterilized petri dish with five
conditions: 1) room condition, 2) sterile water sprayed on the sample and kept
at room conditions, 3) wet cotton ball inside the petri dish at room conditions
4) dry sample at19? in an incubator and 5) sample
immersed in a tap water for 1 hour and kept it in the room condition. everyday water
was sprayed in the samples and investigated using — inverted microscope . photographed of the
samples in petri dish as shown in Figure 5.