Groundbreaking advancement brings 'Miracle material' floating pavements closer to commercial availability

Installation of interlocking green ultra-lightweight foamed fibre-reinforced floating concrete pavement (4 m x 4 m x 60mm) on site

In the aquaculture industry, where sustainability and efficiency are paramount concerns, a groundbreaking project has emerged as a beacon of innovation. Spearheaded by a team of academics and researchers from UTAR Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES), the project titled “Installation method of interlocking green self-consolidating ultra-lightweight foamed fibre-reinforced floating concrete pavement for fish farm in Pangkor Island”, aims to bring a transformative solution to the fish farm industry.

This breakthrough project is led by Assoc Prof Ir Ts Dr Yew Ming Kun, along with other team members, namely LAr Ts Dr Beh Jing Han, Assoc Prof Ir Ts Dr Yew Ming Chian, Assoc Prof Ir Ts Dr Bernard Saw Lip Huat, Assoc Prof Ir Dr Lim Siong Kang and Ir Ts Dr Lee Foo Wei.

Group photo with fish farm owner Mr Chow Cha Leng (third from left) at Pangkor Island after the fish cage installation

The innovative project undertaken by the LKC FES team has transitioned from the laboratory scale to meet the real-scale demands of the aquaculture industry at Pangkor Island, Malaysia. This project offers a solution to meet the increasingly stringent requirements for environmentally friendly products. This patented invention fulfils the principles of recycling, reusable, and renewable (3R), and it complies with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. It holds potential benefits for various industries, particularly the aquaculture industry in Malaysia.

Compared to conventional chengal wood commonly used in the local aquaculture industry, this invention has proven to be more time and cost-saving, safer, eco-friendly, lighter, floatable, durable, and sustainable. Moreover, it can be entirely manufactured locally. A knowledge transfer programme and training activity focused on the installation method of the interlocking system of ultra-lightweight foamed concrete pavement was held among UTAR, the Marine Products Association, and Pangkor Dolphin Fish Farm in Pangkor Island from 15 to 16 December 2023.

This specific installation method demonstrated significant efficiency, allowing completion within 2.5 hours, compared to the traditional method, which took up to 12 hours per unit (4 m x 4 m fish cage) as stated by the fish farm owner Mr Chow Cha Leng. The training aimed to streamline the fish cage installation process, providing a more time-efficient and cost-effective approach to fish farming industries. Mr Chow expressed strong enthusiasm in collaborating with UTAR and the local aquaculture industry for commercialisation. This invention has demonstrated a decrease in density of up to 50% and cost savings of over 30% in materials cost as compared to conventional chengal wood fish cages.

Small scale (300mm x 300mm x 50mm) ultra-lightweight foamed concrete floating test in UTAR laboratory

Large scale (4 m x 4m x 70mm) ultra-lightweight foamed floating test in UTAR Kampar campus lake

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