Advances on concrete strength properties after adding polypropylene fibers from health personal protective equipment (PPE) of COVID-19: Implication on waste management and sustainable environment

Elsevier, Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Volume 128, December 2022
El Aal A.A., Abdullah G.M.S., Qadri S.M.T., Abotalib A.Z., Othman A.
Using Health personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face masks, safety foot shoes and protective suits has expanded dramatically due to COVID-19 pandemic leading to a widespread distribution of the PPE, particularly the face masks, in the environments including streets, dump sites, seashores and other risky locations. The environmental degradation of polypropylene, the essential plastic component in single-use face masks (SUM), takes between 20 and 30 years and thus it is essential to develop experimental approaches to recycle the polypropylene or to reuse it in different ways. This paper explores the integration of SUM into concrete structures to improve its mechanical properties. We first to cut the inner nose wire and ear loops, then distribute the PPE material among five different mixed styles. The PPE were applied by volume at 0%, 1%, 1.5%, 2.0%, and 2.5%, with tests focusing on UCS, STS, FS, and PV to determine the concrete's overall consistency and assess the improvement in its mechanical properties. The results showed that adding PPE improves the strength properties and general performance of the concrete specimens. The pattern of rising intensity started to fade after 2%. The findings demonstrated that adding PPE fibers enhanced the UCS by 9.4% at the optimum 2% PPE. The PPE fibers, on the other side, are crucial in calculating the STS and FS of the reinforcement concrete.