Physical and mechanical properties of cement mortar containing fine sand contaminated with light crude oil

Rajab M. Abousnina*, Allan Manalo, Weena Lokuge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference paperpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


Oil contaminated sand resulting from oil leakage has continuously been a major environmental concern worldwide. This problem affects the physical and chemical properties of the surrounding soil. Due to prohibitive cost of the existing remediation methods for oil contaminated sand, mixing them with cement and using in construction is considered as a cheaper alternative. In this study, the effect of light crude oil contamination on the physical and mechanical properties of cement mortar was investigated. Fine sand with different percentages of light crude oil by weight ranging from 0% to 10% was mixed with Ordinary Portland cement and cured in a fog room. The compressive strength of the cement mortar was then determined at 7, 14 and 28 days. Results showed that the workability and the total porosity of the cement mortar increased as the amount of crude oil increases. Moreover, the compressive strength increased with the increasing curing time for all specimens. The cement mortar containing fine sand with 1% light crude oil exhibited the highest compressive strength, which is 18%, 30% and 17% higher than the uncontaminated samples at 7, 14 ad 28 days, respectively. Interestingly, the cement mortar with up to 2% oil contamination has higher compressive strength than the 0% oil contamination while increasing the crude oil content more than 2% and up to 10% cause a reduction in the compressive strength by 50%. Still, the strength properties of mortar with oil contaminated sand up to 10% are suitable for landfill layering and production of bricks results indicating their high potential and beneficial use as a sustainable material in civil engineering and construction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-258
Number of pages9
JournalProcedia Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Sustainable Design, Engineering and Construction (4th : 2016) - Tempe, United States
Duration: 18 May 201620 May 2016
Conference number: 4th

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2016. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Light crude oil
  • compressive strength
  • cement mortar
  • sustainable materials


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