Research and Development
Research and development is a crucial aspect of both the Association and the iron and steel slag industry generally. The commitment to undertake such research and development projects stems from the industry’s general pursuit to reduce existing knowledge gaps in user and communities in order to better promote the full utilisation of these products.
The following represents on-going research and development projects undertaken by the Association in regards to the nature and properties of iron and steel slags.
CRC for Low Carbon Living (2013 - 2020)
The CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRC-LCL) is a national research and innovation hub that seeks to enable a globally competitive low carbon built environment sector and is supported by the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) programme. The Association is a foundation member of the CRC.
With a focus on collaborative innovation, we bring together property, planning, engineering and policy organisations with leading Australian researchers. CRCLCL develops new social, technological and policy tools for facilitating the development of low carbon products and services to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment.
To achieve our goals, we will deliver:
- opportunities for lower-carbon manufacturing
- a more efficient and productive built environment sector as a whole
- engaged communities participating in low carbon living
- an evidence base for good planning and policy
- large-scale national capability development
- tools, technologies and techniques that will ensure the sector remains globally competitive
The Australasian (iron & steel) Slag Association is providing a leadership role in low carbon concretes in Program 1: Integrated Building Systems
This program will develop
- building-integrated multipurpose solar products,
- low-carbon-lifecycle building construction components/ materials, and
- integrated design, energy rating and reduction methodologies
- These outputs target next generation construction practices, where step-change emission cuts are required. New design tools, rating frameworks and Australian Standards will underpin and stimulate the market for low carbon buildings, products and services.
Outcomes from the many projects that better inform the CRCLCL and wider community on how to enable a sustainable future. http://lowcarbonlivingcrc.com.au/research/program-1-integrated-building-systems
Project 1: Steel reinforcement corrosion in geopolymer concrete (2013-2016)
Researchers: Mahdi Babaee (PhD candidate) and Arnaud Castel
Steel reinforcement corrosion in geopolymer concrete one of the major barriers to geopolymer widespread adoption by the construction industry is the lack of knowledge related to their durability. One of the major causes of deterioration of reinforced concrete structures is the corrosion of reinforcement due to either atmospheric carbonation or sea water. The project aims to assess the capacity of geopolymer concrete to protect steel from corrosion. Electrochemical experimentations consisting in measuring free corrosion potential, polarization resistance or Tafel slops are used to assess the performance of geopolymer concrete. A numerical modela is developed to predict active steel corrosion in geopolymer concrete.
Project 2: Durability of geopolymer concrete in Sulphate environments (2013-2016)
Researchers: Supphatuch Ukritnukun (PhD candidate), Arnaud Castel and Chris Sorrel (Prof. Material science UNSW)
Resistance of Portland cement concrete to chemical attacks by sulphate is poor, which is a major consern. Geopolymer concrete has been identified as a potential alternative to Portland cement providing a much better resistance to Sulphate attacks. Microstructural and chemical analysis of geopolymer specimens exposed to aggressive solution simulating real exposure conditions (i.e. aggressive soil) are carried out and existing testing methods currently used for Portland cement concrete are assessed.
Project 3: Carbonation and chloride diffusion in geopolymer concrete (2014-2017)
Researchers: Amin Noushini (PhD candidate), Mohammad Khan (RA), Arnaud Castel and James Aldred
The main barrier to geopolymer widespread adoption by the construction industry is the lack of standard specifications. The CRC-LCL project aims to develop a performance based standard for geopolymer concrete providing reliable testing protocols and performance based requirements according to the environmental exposure considered. This work focuses on both chloride diffusion in concrete and atmospheric carbonation. Existing accelerated testing protocols which are standardised worldwide have been developed specifically for Portland cement binder systems. However, chemical reactions characterising geopolymer binder systems differ drastically from conventional hydration process of Portland cement. As a result, existing testing methods have to be assessed, recalibrated and sometimes fundamentally modified.
Project 4: Alkali Aggregate reaction in geopolymer concrete (2015-2018)
Researchers: Dinesh Habaragamu Arachchige (PhD candidate), Mohammad Khan (RA), Arnaud Castel, Pre De Silva (ACU Sydney) and Vute Sirivivatnanon (Prof. UTS)
Alkali Aggregate reaction is the chemical reaction between alkali hydroxide of Portland cement with reactive mineral components of aggregates in concrete that can induce an internal stress which may result in premature cracking and loss in serviceability of structures. The activator solutions used in geopolymer concrete, mostly Sodium Hydroxide and sodium silicate, might trigger similar reactions. The project aims to assess the risk of Alkali Aggregate reaction in geopolymer concrete and existing testing methods currently used for Portland cement concrete. Both microstructural and chemical investigations are carried out.
Project 5: Biogenic corrosion of geopolymer mortar (2015-2018)
Researchers: Hammad Khan (PhD candidate), Mohammad Khan (RA), Arnaud Castel
Geopolymer concrete has been identified as a potential alternative to Portland cement providing a much better resistance to Biogenic corrosion in sewers. This project aims to understand the chemistry responsible of the degradation of geopolymer concrete in sewers. Accelerated testing protocols will be developed.
Project 6: Using steel furnace slag aggregate in low calcium fly ash geopolymer concrete (2016-2019)
Researchers: TBA (PhD candidate), Mohammad Khan (RA), Arnaud Castel, Steve Foster
The growing demand for aggregates to produce concrete for large scale infrastructure is depleting the natural resources. In order to preserve the natural resources, an effort has been noted over the last decades to utilise industrial by-products or recycled materials in concrete production. This work aims to assess the performance of steel furnace slag aggregate in low calcium fly ash geopolymer concrete. Assessment of the mechanical and physical properties, shrinkage, and detailed microstructure analysis will be carried out.
ASA Environmental Monitoring Program (2005 - Ongoing)
Commencing in 2005, this annual EMP was established in response to recommendations from the “Material Classification of Iron and Steel Slag By-product Waste Classification Investigation Report 2004”. Key recommendation being to; establish an annual EMP to increase industry understanding about environmental performance of ISS products generated, processed and sold by members.
The ASA annually undertakes an Environmental Monitoring Program to monitor and assess the iron and steel slags (ISS) produced, processed and sold by its members. The program involves testing slag samples from member sites for their total metal (TM) concentrations and where necessary, undertaking toxicity characteristic leaching procedures (TCLP) on the samples required and comparing the results against jurisdictional government regulations.
A final report discussing the results and implications of these tests is produced by the Association at the conclusion of each program and is available for download by clicking on the relevant document. All files are made available in PDF format.
NORMS Testing (2010)
To assess the concentrations of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) present in iron and steel slags, the Association has undertaken a NORM study of samples taken from member sites across Australia. The results of the study have been compiled and analysed by the Association, available for download by clicking on the relevant document. All files are made available in PDF format.