Asee peer logo

Kenaf Building Blocks

Download Paper |


2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Construction Division Poster Session

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.838.1 - 24.838.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Joseph O. Arumala University of Maryland, Eastern Shore

visit author page

Dr. Joseph Arumala is a Professor in the Construction Management Technology Program, University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Professor Arumala is an experienced Civil/Structural Engineer who teaches Statics, Strength of Materials, Structural Design, Soils and Surveying courses. He is the Faculty Advisor to the UMES Chapter of Sigma Lambda Chi, the Internal Honor Society for Construction. He is the President of the Eastern Shore Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Professor Arumala is actively involved in Community Development projects and in research into sustainable Alternative Building Materials and Renewable Alternative Energy Use in Buildings.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Kenaf Building Blocks Dr. Joseph O. Arumala. PE, F. ASCE University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Department of Technology, Princess Anne, Maryland, USA Email: joarumala@umes.eduAbstract. Kenaf fibers are emerging as promising alternative building materials that will providea much needed boost to the construction industry. The objective of this investigation is to useKenaf, a fast growing sustainable agricultural fiber to produce wall building blocks as analternative to using wood products for wall construction in buildings. The aim is to produce alow-cost wall building material that will provide affordable housing to meet global housing need.The method employed is to use a low-energy and cost effective process to make kenaf blocks bymixing kenaf, an agricultural fiber, with Magnesium Oxychloride cement, an organic binder andwater to produce a matrix that can be placed in molds to produce the blocks. The blocks madeare light weight with an average weight of 10.365 pounds, an average unit weight of 78.79pounds per cubic foot and have an average compressive strength of 2768.68 psi with a maximumstrength of 3515 psi, which is sufficient for walls in one story construction. The blocks gainedcompressive strength steadily attaining about 50% of the target strength in 15 days. The blocksmade are light weight and strong and may be very cost effective when used in one storybuildings. Several undergraduate Construction Management Technology students were involvedin material procurement, mix design, production and testing of the kenaf blocks. These studentslearnt the basic principles of research pertaining to alternative building materials.Keywords: Sustainable Agricultural-based Fibers, Kenaf blocks, Magnesium Oxychloridecement, wood-based fiber products, maximum average compressive strength.

Arumala, J. O. (2014, June), Kenaf Building Blocks Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20729

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015