ABSTRACT Natural sponge fibre (Acanthus montanus) was used as reinforcement for ceiling materials in
this research work. This fibre, being fairly strong and stiff as well as cheap and plentiful with
low energy demand during manufacture, are strong contenders for the reinforcement of cementbased materials. The fibre, whose mass fraction was the variable in this work, was cut down into smaller sizes and mixed with pulverised waste paper, cement and water. The resulting slurry was
then poured into rectangular moulds which were compacted until the excess water was expelled
and resulting composites became hard. Demoulded samples were left to cure in the open
laboratory air for 28 days. Flexural and water absorptivity tests were carried out on the various
samples which showed that reinforcement and best mechanical properties were obtained at
optimum fibre mass fraction of 4% when compared with the brittle matrix in the absence of
reinforcement. These tests confirmed the possible use of sponge fibres as reinforcement in
cement matrices for ceiling purposes.
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