Proposed Standard Aims to Support New Materials that Maintain Concrete Sustainability


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A proposed ASTM International standard aims to support use of new supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) that are needed to continue supporting concrete sustainability.  

“SCMs are common industrial residuals used to bolster the sustainability of concrete by improving performance and durability while also reducing the environmental footprint of the material,” says Larry Sutter, assistant dean of engineering and professor at Michigan Technological University. He notes that the most commonly used SCMs have traditionally been coal fly ash and slag cement, the latter coming from the production of iron.

Sutter says that as coal-fired power production is reduced, supplies of coal fly ash are also reduced. Therefore, the concrete industry is looking for alternative SCMs to use in concrete. The proposed standard (WK70466) aims to expand the range of materials by developing the first performance-based specification for SCMs. 

According to Sutter, the proposed standard, being developed by ASTM International’s concrete and concrete aggregates committee (C09) will be most useful to licensed design professionals and architects who want to specify a broader range of materials. It will also allow concrete producers to have more flexibility in the choice of materials, leading to improved innovation. 

Sutter notes that the proposed standard would support goals 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production), and 13 (climate action) of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

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