Progress & Pozzolans - Green Cement Research

Pavements, pipes, buildings and bridges – a result of the world’s most widely used man-made material, concrete. These everyday structures that benefit society also account for 8% of global CO₂ emissions. A key contribution to this figure is the use of Portland cement, but developments in research are making way for a new ‘green’ alternative. 

Researchers from Western Sydney University and UNSW have developed a water-resistant MOC (magnesium oxychloride cement), a more sustainable alternative that provides the same versatility as Portland cement but without the environmental impact. 

Using the byproducts magnesium oxide (MgO) and magnesium chloride (MgCl₂) from magnesium mining produces a carbon-neutral cement, making MOC a greener solution. However, the team of researchers have found that without the combination of utilising the additional by-products fly ash and silica fume, the strength of MOC would severely degrade when in contact with water and therefore limit its use to indoors. 

The breakthrough in producing a water-resistant environmentally friendly cement that can integrate with existing concrete production is on its way to constructing a more sustainable future by cutting its emissions, whilst still meeting the demands of a growing society.