Mechanical and market study for sand/recycled-plastic cobbles in a medium-size colombian city

Luz Adriana Sanchez-Echeverri, Nelson Javier Tovar-Perilla, Juana Gisella Suarez-Puentes, Jorge Enrique Bravo-Cervera, Daniel Felipe Rojas-Parra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The need to satisfy the increasing demand for building materials and the challenge of reusing plastic to help improve the critical environmental crisis has led to the recycling of plastic waste, which is further exploited and transformed into new and creative materials for the construction industry. This study looked into the use of low-density recycled polyethylene (LDPE) to produce non-conventional plastic sand cobbles. LDPE waste was melted in order to obtain enough fluid consistency which was then mixed with sand in a 25/75 plastic-sand ratio respectively, such a mixture helped producing cobbles of 10 cm × 20 cm × 4 cm. Water absorption, weight, and density measurements were performed on both commercial and non-conventional plastic sand cobbles. Moreover, compression, bending, and wear resistance were also conducted as part of their mechanical characterization. Plastic sand cobbles showed lower water absorption and density values than commercial cobbles. The mechanical properties evaluated showed that plastic sand cobbles have a higher modulus of rupture and wear resistance than commercial cobbles. In addition, plastic sand cobbles meet the Colombian Technical Standard in lightweight traffic for pedestrians and vehicle, officially known as Norma Técnica Colombiana (NTC), with 25.5 MPa, 16.3 MPa, and 12 mm compression resistance, modulus of rupture and footprint length in wear resistance respectively. Finally, a market study was conducted to establish a factory to produce this type of cobbles in Ibague, Colombia. Not only the study showed positive financial indicators, which means that it is feasible running a factory to manufacture plastic sand cobbles in the city of Ibague, but it also concluded that nonconventional plastic sand cobbles could be explored to provide a comprehensive alternative to LDPE waste.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Cobbles
  • Lightweight traffic
  • Materials
  • Pedestrian traffic
  • Plastics
  • Recycling


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