Two students at a major college in Ho Chi Minh City created floor tiles from a novel mixture of sand and plastic that gives promising results, albeit using quite a rudimentary method.
After many days of hard work and sleep deprivation, Vu Van Duong and Pham Manh Dinh, sophomores at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and Education (UTE), combined sand and nylon to form a new material for floor tiles.
While more testing is needed, the material can provide practical applications and become an important solution to the plastic waste issue in Vietnam, said Le Anh Thang, a lecturer at the school’s faculty of civil engineering.
Dinh, who majors in information technology at the institution, shared a tile-making idea inspired by one of his high school teachers with Duong, his dormitory roommate who studies at the engineering faculty.
They dried plastic bags collected from a market, used any item available to them, and spent their own money on sand and the equipment from which they built a compressing tool.
The students experimented with over 60 tiles baked at different temperatures for more than two months by dropping the objects from the fifth floor of a building.
They finally found the sturdiest tile with an appropriate sand-plastic ratio in its composition, and named the material UNC, which represents the name of their university and the Vietnamese words for plastic and sand.
Dinh and Duong presented the material at the university’s undergraduate scientific research contest and it was impressive to lecturer Le Anh Thang.
“I was instantly attracted by their idea,” Thang said.
“When I asked them how they had made the material, I found it amusing and moving at time that they did research that followed no scientific procedures at all.”
Thang has allowed Dinh and Duong to use equipment at a workshop at the school – an opportunity the students said went beyond their wildest dreams.
Their tile prototype met domestic technical standards, they said.