Investigating the Use of Sustainable Alternative Cementitious Materials for Reclamation Concrete Sttructures
Can commercially available alternative cementitious materials be used for both repair and structural applications in Reclamation's facilities?
Need and Benefit
Need: There is a need for Reclamation to begin adapting to more sustainably manufactured materials. The concrete industry as a whole is pushing toward the use of more sustainable binders, whether they be blended cement (OPC blended with SCMs or limestone), alternative clinker cements, or alkali-activated binders. Reclamation needs to be prepared and have knowledge regarding these new materials and be able to recommend their use for the appropriate application. Most of the research and construction using ACMs in the US are for transportation infrastructure. There has not been widespread research in the US on the use of ACMs in other applications such as canal linings, spillways, or in mass concrete.
Benefit: The use of ACMs is first and foremost beneficial to the environment since the production of ACMs uses significantly less energy than ordinary Portland cement. Between repairs and new construction, Reclamation uses a significant amount of cement. Replacing a small fraction of that cement with an ACM would mean a reduction in Reclamation's carbon footprint. Some of the materials (such as alkali-activated binder systems) are made purely out of waste material plus an activator so the cost would be significantly cheaper than Portland cement.
Urgency: Reclamation has already run in to instances where there is a limited availability of materials such as Class F ash or Type V cement.
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