Concrete has been the single most widely used in all types of construction due to its versatility and ready availability. One primary ingredient in concrete is Portland cement, which is used to bind the materials that make up concrete. While concrete is a wonderfully versatile material, the popularity of it also carries a great environmental cost. Although many alternative materials have been suggested as replacement for Portland cement, researchers have been unsuccessful in providing an additional cementitious material at a lower cost than Portland cement. Therefore, in order to protect the Earth’s ozone layer and reduce harmful greenhouse gases, the world needs an eco-friendly construction material.
On January 15, Dong-ho Jeon (School of Urban and Environmental Engineering) and his advisor, Prof. Jae-eun Oh announced that they have successfully developed a technology to make a new material that can replace cement. This new material is made from industrial by-products, thereby reducing CO2 emissions by 15%, compared to ordinary Portland cement.
In this study, Prof. Oh and the lead author of this study Jeon demonstrated strength improvement in a Ca(OH)2-activated fly ash system through the use of Na2CO3. Jeon states, “This new green building material will enable people to construct buildings without using Portland cement.” He adds, “Moreover, the use of the cement-free binding material will even help people in Central Asian Countries, like Mongolia and Kazakhstan where there is high demand for cement to easily supply industrial by-product (IBP) materials as cement replacement materials.”
Recently, this research team received proposal from the City of Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia and the Mongolian University of Science and Technology to establish a joint venture firm with them. Moreover, it has now agreed to sign a cooperative agreement to work on a building project for production facilities of a cement-free binding material with a local builder in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The findings were published online in the January 2015 issue of ‘Cement and Concrete Research,’ a scientific journal published by Elsevier B.V., and have been granted two domestic patents by the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO).
Dongho Jeon, Yubin Jun, Yeonung Jeong, Jae Eun Oh, “Microstructural and strength improvements through the use of Na2Co3 in a cementless Ca(OH)2-activated Class F fly ash system.” Cement and Concrete Research (67), 215-225.