Improvement effect of pyrolyzed agro-food biochar on the properties of magnesium phosphate cement

Muhammad Riaz Ahmad, Bing Chen, Haijuan Duan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


This study extends the application of pyrolyzed biochar and investigates its influence on the mechanical, sorption and microstructure properties of magnesium phosphate cement mortar. Biochar was produced by the pyrolysis of wheat straw biomass by controlled burning and its replacement level was kept up to 1.5%. At the age of 30 days, the compressive and flexural strength of mortar containing 1.5% biochar was 17.3% and 9.0% higher as compared to the control mortar, which was associated with the micro-filler and internal reservoir effect of biochar particles. Inclusion of biochar considerably improved the resistance of magnesium phosphate cement in the water environment. Sorptivity and water absorption of mortar containing 1.5% biochar was reduced by 33.8% and 25% respectively than the control mortar. Biochar densified the microstructure of mortars by filling the microcracks and blocking the pores. X-ray diffraction and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy did not provide any information about the formation of new hydration products. Elemental analysis of mortar samples using energy dispersive spectroscopy showed the presence of some elements, which indicates the possibility of new hydration products. Based on the positive results in this study, future study will include the detailed chemical effect of biochar on magnesium phosphate cement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137422
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Mechanical properties
  • Microstructure
  • Porosity
  • Sorptivity
  • Wheat straw biochar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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