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UCM Assists with Tests for School Expo
Author: Riaan Combrinck
Published: 27/09/2016

Two Grade 10 school pupils from Parklands College, Stephan Cilliers (left on photo) and Frank Smuts (right on photo), developed an alternative building block material, made from used plastic bags, for the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists, held in Cape Town, from 29 to 31 August, 2016. Stephan and Frank approached the UCM (Unit for Construction Materials) regarding compression tests on cubes made from their used plastic bag material.

The results showed that the plastic cubes not only comply with the strength requirements for traditional masonry units, but also possess outstanding ductility. In addition, the cubes are lightweight and provide good insulation, although fire resistance is a concern.

There were more than five hundred projects at the Eskom Expo, competing in twenty four categories. Stephan and Frank were awarded the bronze medal in the category 'Repurposing of Material for Housing Purposes'. Congratulations to Stephan and Frank on their achievement. 

More information about the UCM can be found at and about the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists at