What Are Supplementary Cementitious Materials?

About SCM

Supplementary cementing materials (SCMs) are materials added to the process of making concrete that make it more economical, enhance strength and durability and help reduce the overall C02 emissions of concrete.

 

 

SCMs Reduce Carbon Foot Print 

SCMs are used to substitute either portland cement clinker in the production of composite cements or cement in the production of concrete. The use of SCMs is widespread in the concrete industry because of the economic and performance benefits they provide. Recently, SCMs have been receiving increasing attention for the role they play in reducing the carbon footprint of concrete, since the energy use and CO2 emissions from portland cement clinker manufacturing significantly outweigh those of other concrete components, and SCMs have a smaller environmental impact than portland cement clinker [1]. The demand for high quality SCMs is large, as exemplified by the fact that the world average clinker factor (percentage of clinker in cement) decreased from 0.85 in 2003 to 0.77 in 2010, and long-term predictions are that this number will continue to decrease as far as 0.71. 

Fly ash, the most commonly used pozzolan in concrete, is a by-product of thermal power generating stations. Commercially available fly ash is a finely divided residue that results from the combustion of pulverized coal and is carried from the combustion chamber of the furnace by exhaust gases.

 Fly Ash Limitations

As a by-product of burning coal, fly ash has seen a dramatic drop in availability, as many coal fired electrical plants are being off-lined due to environmental pressure related to air pollution. Many plants are being converted over to burn natural gas, which is both cheaper and cleaner than coal. This leaves the concrete/cement industry looking for a new, more reliable resource to replace fly ash.

THE FUTURE OF FLY ASH / Caltrans Report

The Important future Of SCM Materials

As the supply of fly ash decreases,  alternative SCMs will play a major role in the construction industry where concrete is used. Attached is a detailed paper discussing the relevance of natural pozzolan and other SCM solutions.


MORE ABOUT SCM MATERIALS /  Mineralogical Society Of America

 

Concrete In Practice 

n its most basic form, concrete is a mixture of Portland cement, sand, coarse aggregate and water. So what sounds simple is really an exact science of mixtures and byproducts. The attached document explains in detail the science of concrete and how SMC’s enhance modern day concrete.

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