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PMSS Project Details


Project ID:FHWA-PROJ-13-0032
Project Name: Protocols for Evaluating the Properties and Performance of Alternative Cementitious Materials (ACMs*) for Use in Highway Applications
Status: Active
Last Name:Ardani
First Name:Ahmad
Office: Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Team:Pavement Materials Team
Roadmap/Focus area(s): Infrastructure Research and Technology Strategic Plan and Roadmap
Project Description:A multidisciplinary approach involving chemical, petrographic, and physical characterization techniques will be applied to the characterization of ACMs. The tasks aim to develop a protocol for systematically and expeditiously evaluating mixtures containing ACMs (for example, CeraTech and Solidia cements). The principal objectives are to evaluate their structural and durability performance and to identify properties and test methods that will assure their quality and performance for highway applications. To achieve the objective of this study, the research team envisions the following steps:   Evaluation of rheology, setting, mechanical properties, volume change, transport properties and durability using traditional and new emerging test methodsChemical analysis of the mixtures, which entails x-ray florescence, x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, and Thermogravimetric analysis.Petrographic analysis, which includes microscopic examination and analysis of the constituents of hardened cementitious materials.  Alternative Cementitious Materials (ACMs*) are materials that have little or no portland cement.
Laboratories: Concrete Laboratory
Chemistry Laboratory
Aggregate and Petrographic Laboratory
Start Date: January 15, 2013
End Date: December 31, 2017
The key project objectives are:
  • Characterization of performance of concrete-making materials, which include analysis of mechanical, durability, chemical, and physical properties of concrete containing the constituents and their interactions. 
  • Analysis of the rheological and mechanical properties of fresh paste, mortar, and concrete, as required.
  • Analysis of setting time, heat generation, and reaction mechanisms during hydration.
  • Analysis of hardened concrete, mortar, and paste, including physically and chemically induced durability and strength issues.
The main focus of the study is to implement the concept of sustainability by evaluating and documenting the performance of concrete-making materials that are environmentally friendly, economical, and are socially acceptable. The ultimate goal is to reduce the carbon dioxide footprint associated with the production of cement while maintaining or improving the performance of concrete in the highway infrastructure. 
Background Information: Today’s transportation infrastructure, while providing for efficient, convenient, and safer movement of people and goods, is not as sustainable as it could be. There are adverse impacts on the environment through the production of the cement for use in infrastructure construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance. Nearly one ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted into the atmosphere for every ton of cement produced. Globally, up to seven percent of the total CO2 produced is from the production of cement. As the concept of sustainability gains momentum, many transportation agencies, in an effort to reduce the CO2footprint and to reduce the need for raw materials, are willing to explore using more supplemental cementitious materials (SCMs) and other emerging alternative cementitious materials (ACMs) with little or no cement. What lacks is a sound, practical protocol that can be used to characterize these different cementitious mixtures and their impact on the performance of rigid pavement.
Test Methodology: Characterization of Alternative Cementitious Materials using Dynamic Shear Rheometer (DSR), Isothermal Calorimeter, x-ray diffraction (XRD), x-ray florescence (XRF), Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and petrographic analysis.
Expected Benefits:The expected benefit is the development of an environmentally friendly rigid pavement that is sustainable and cost effective.
Deliverables:Name: Guidelines and Protocol.
Product Type(s): Research report, Article, Promotional materials, Techbrief, Technical report
Description: The deliverable is a suite of protocols that can be used to properly characterize a variety of different cementitious materials and examine their suitability/application for use in rigid pavements.
Project Findings:Based on the limited data that have been acquired on the use of Solidia cement, it appears that its mechanical properties are equivalent or better than that of ordinary portland cement. Petrographic examination of the cores revealed that Solidia cement is primarily composed of glassy materials (perhaps slag) and crystalline materials (Wollastonite). X-ray diffraction and x-ray fluorescence examination of the constituents also confirmed presence of these materials.
Keywords: Durability
Subject Areas: Materials