An increasing number of composting facilities are being constructed for the rapidly growing UK waste management industry. Concrete is an ideal material for the construction of these facilities but the designer must have a realistic expectation of the service life as the combination of chemical attack and physical abrasion can be severe.
The decomposition of organic material is an exothermic reaction and considerable heat is generated. Within the composting tunnels temperatures up to 80ºC may be developed, but then may fall dramatically when the mature material is removed and replaced by fresh material. These thermal changes generate expansion and contraction movements that may need to be taken into consideration at the design stage.
This paper highlights the issues.
Published: April 2013. Reviewed October 2016
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