Characterisation of Portland cement blended with pitchstone fines aiding carbon dioxide emission reduction

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Publication Series, 2008, pp. 255 - 258
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Climate change and global wanning present a significant challenge as unsustainable levels of greenhouse gas emissions arising from human activities continue to be emitted. The cement industry is responsible for between five and ten per cent of annual world carbon dioxide emissions; most arising from the manufacture of Portland cement (PC). An effective way of reducing emissions is by incorporating supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) as partial PC replacements. SCMs are silicate or aluminosilicate based pozzolanic materials which, in finely divided form, combine with water and calcium hydroxide (lime), liberated by cement hydration, to form compounds exhibiting cementitious properties. Pitchstone is such an aluminosilicate and has the potential to act as an effective pozzolan for partial replacement of PC. In North Queensland, Australia, a vast deposit of pitchstone is mined and processed for expandable perlite aggregate. During the classification stage of the excavated natural material, waste pitchstone fines (PF) less than 0.5 mm in size are generated. This study evaluates the waste PF as a viable, eco-friendly pozzolan for the partial replacement of PC. The reactivity of the PF is compared to fly ash (FA), using the pozzolanic compressive strength activity index (SAI) after seven, 28, and 91 days ageing at 20 per cent and 40 per cent PC substitutions. PF was found to be comparable to FA as a pozzolan at 20 per cent PC substitution at all ages tested. However, for the 40 per cent substitution blends significant strength was only achieved at 91 days ageing for the FA blend. The pozzolanic reactivity was also investigated using thermogravimetric analysis to determine the degree of free lime present after 91 days. In all cases where an SCM was added, the free lime was observed to be consumed with increasing age.
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