Pathways towards sustainable concrete

A new paper covers a wide range of alternative strategies to improve the sustainability of concrete.

A concrete tunnel entrance lined with trees.
The reseacrhers showed that oil shale can replace up to 76 % of raw materials in clinker manufacturing.  Image source: Engin_Akyurt - Pixabay (symbol image).

The paper firstly considers the relatively easy application of the latest technologies to manufacture traditional Portland cement, including carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies, and the use supplementary cementitious materials as Portland cement replacement. It then focuses on more complex processes such as the substitution of traditional constituents with alternative binders (both non-Portland clinker or alkali-activated materials), recycled aggregates and non-drinking water, up to the description of high-durability/high performance mixtures.

Need to upgrade the existing standards

The review also underlines the significant need to upgrade the existing standards, and the relevance of thriving the education of designers, researchers and contractors for the development and the diffusion, also thanks to good practice, of new concrete technologies. This research also proposes a new sustainability index for mortars and concretes, also manufactured with negative carbon footprint materials, modifying the Empathetic Added Sustainability Index (EASI).

The study has been published in Cement and Concrete Research, Volume 154, April 2022.

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