Production of ‘green’ concrete using red gypsum and waste
The main cost incurred in the production of concrete paving blocks is the cost of the cement-based binders. In addition, there is the environmental cost of quarrying and processing of these primary materials. Gypsum-based industrial by-products have been identified as alternative sources of cement. These materials have little or no production cost and their reuse negates the need for disposal, offering a more sustainable material for the production of paving blocks. Laboratory trials have investigated the properties of red gypsum, derived as a coproduct associated with titanium dioxide manufacture, mixed with pulverised-fuel ash, ground granulated blastfurnace slag, lime and basic steel slag. An assessment of samples was made using unconfined compressive strength after 28 days curing. It was found that a red gypsum ground granulated blastfurnace slag mix achieved the highest unconfined compressive strength (up to 39 MPa) and was selected for further investigation. Two binders, composed primarily of red gypsum and ground granulated blastfurnace slag, were mixed with sand and pea gravel to make 100 mm concrete cubes and compared with Portland cement for uniaxial compressive strength, stiffness and workability. The red gypsum-based binder compared favourably with Portland cement, indicating that there is potential to integrate red gypsum into concrete block mixes.