UBE Industries Consulting Co., Ltd. (President: Tomotake Horio), primarily engaged in soil reinforcement projects in Ube City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, has developed a new soil reinforcement method using Z-sand, artificial sand derived from fly ash. Z-sand is manufactured by its parent company, UBE Industries, Ltd. Trials on a commercial scale have proven this new method to be superior to existing methods in terms of both flow properties and cost. The method also conforms to soil environment standards established by Japan's Ministry of the Environment.
This new approach utilizes mortar that provides sufficient strength in practical applications, even compared with existing methods that use natural sand. Due to the use of artificial sand made from fly ash, the new method will also mitigate natural resource depletion and reduce the cost of soil stabilization projects.
With the overall downturn in the construction industry, the Company has been exploring more cost-competitive construction materials and new ways of applying them. Meanwhile, UBE Industries, as part of its efforts to efficiently use fly ash, has completed an experimental facility for the volume manufacture of artificial sand, or Z-sand, made from this material. The two companies have been cooperating on basic research into using Z-sand as grout for soil reinforcement to fill underground cavity. Trials started in this area in August 2002, showed that the new method achieved satisfactory levels of soil reinforcement and environmental safety, prompting both companies to move toward commercialization.
Looking ahead, the Company will apply this method to more construction projects and gather additional data. At the same time, it will offer government and other prospective customers on the merits of the method, focusing on its cost benefits, with the view to establishing new markets.