An exploratory study of local Saudi clays for their utilization in development of eco-friendly limestone calcined clay cement (LC3)

Project: Research

Project Details


Cement industry is facing the problem of high CO2 emissions for many years i.e., each ton of Portland cement produced, emits about the same amount of CO2. The use of supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) for replacement of cement in concrete is a viable approach. A number of candidate materials (mainly limestone, coal fly ash, and blast furnace slag) have been extensively researched for this purpose. However, the total available amounts of these mainly used SCMs are much less than the current cement demand. Moreover, slag and fly ash are industrial by-products whose availability depends on the growth of respective industries, not to mention their non-availability locally in Saudi Arabia. Alternatively, clays are abundantly found in earth crust and can be converted to usable binding material after calcination at moderate temperatures. A Portland cement substitution of up to 60% has been reported by using a blend of limestone and calcined clays, normally referred as limestone calcined clay cement (LC3) concrete. The proposed research is aimed at exploring the possibility of utilizing locally available Saudi clays to manufacture LC3 concrete, in an effort to reduce the carbon emissions as well as promoting local SCMs instead of importing fly ash and slag, which is the current practice. No significant work has been done in this regard, to the best of our knowledge. Hence, we propose an exploratory study in which a number of clay samples will be collected from different geographical locations of Saudi Arabia. Collected clay samples will be characterized in terms of their mineralogical composition (via XRF, XRD and TGA analyses). Based on the mineralogical composition, promising clays (containing moderate or high kaolinite content) will be shortlisted for further characterization i.e., finding optimal calcination temperature, particle size distribution and pozzolanic reactivity (via TGA, BET/BJH), followed by making trial LC3 concrete samples using selected clays. The outcomes of this short project will potentially enable us to conduct a full-scale study in the second phase. The optimal clay ratio, fresh and hardened properties of concrete mixtures, and their durability aspects will be the topics for next phase. This will potentially reduce the dependence of Saudi concrete industry on imported materials in addition to the greater effects of reduced CO2 emissions. Consequently, the outcomes of the proposed project will add local as well as global value in concrete industry.
Effective start/end date1/07/2131/12/22


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