Manufacture of Spongy Gravel from Obsidian to Produce Lightweight and Thermal-Insulating Concrete
The present study aims to convert obsidian rocks into spongy gravel for the use in the production of lightweight and heat insulating concrete. The rocks were burned at 960°C to achieve maximum swelling of the samples, then broken into gravel and sand sizes. For comparison purposes, two other types of aggregates were used, namely pumice and basalt. The main physical tests, such as specific gravity, bulk density, porosity, and water absorption were performed. For testing the resistance of samples to alkalinity, KOH and Na OH solutions were used. The results showed that the obsidian sample gave the best specifications, where its specific gravity was 0.33, while the values were 1.1 for pumice and 2.7 for basalt, with the same results being applied to the other physical tests. After forming the concrete cubes of the three types of aggregates with three mixing proportions (1, 1.5, and 3 of cement, sand, gravel, respectively), the most important physical, mechanical, and chemical tests were performed along with their specific ages. The results were distinct, specifically the specific gravity values of the aggregate concrete samples A and B (1.3 and 1.5, respectively, as compared to the basalt sample, which recorded a value of 2.5. As for the thermal conductivity, a distinct value was recorded for the obsidian sample (0.16 W/m.k) as compared to the pumice and basalt samples (2.1 and 1.32 W/m.k, respectively). Perhaps the reason behind this variation is the pores type of the aggregate produced for the obsidian sample, which were of the closed system. This prevents the seeping of water and cement materials into the body of gravel, keeping it at light weight and providing it with high thermal insulation. As for the alkalinity test, there was no evidence of a reaction with the alkali cement in the obsidian and pumice samples, except for a slight reaction that appeared in the basalt sample.