Green cement is a step closer to being a game-changer

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Cement is a vital building material used extensively to build homes, buildings and infrastructures, but it’s known to do colossal damage to the environment. According to Building and Planning Lecturer from the University of Melbourne “Globally, the major ingredient in concrete produces up to 7 per cent of CO2 emissions, a significant amount. He added that it would be impossible to completely stop the damage to the climate that cement produces, but it was possible to negate it. Magnesium Oxychloride Cement (MOC) is a high-performance cement that has a multitude of beneficial properties when compared to ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) binder systems.

The cement is more environmentally friendly because its carbon-neutral does not need wet curing, has high fire resistance, excellent mould resistance, low thermal conductivity, low shrinkage and excellent abrasion resistance.  MOC binder is formed as a product of a reaction between a PREMag magnesium oxide (MgO), PREMagMOC MagChloride magnesium chloride and water.

MOC cement is produced by mixing two main ingredients, magnesium oxide (MgO) powder and a concentrated solution of magnesium chloride (MgCl₂). MgO powder and the solution of MgCl2 are mixed to produce magnesium oxychloride cement (MOC) and can be found in seawater and around magnesite resources. Furthermore, MgO can absorb CO₂ from the atmosphere. This makes MOC a truly green, carbon-neutral cement. MOC also has many superior material properties compared to conventional cement.

The capacity to resist compression is the most important material property for cementitious construction materials such as cement. MOC has a much higher compressive strength than conventional cement and this impressive strength can be achieved very fast. The fast setting of MOC and early strength gain are very advantageous for the construction company.

Although MOC has plenty of merits, it has poor water resistance when turned into concrete, but Associate Professor of Engineering at Western Sydney University, Sarah Zhang and her team have discovered a method for improving the material. Zhang said, “The discovery was significant and we think this is a breakthrough, from the current research, no one can achieve such a high-water resistance for MOC, particularly for warm water attack.”

The team added industrial byproducts fly ash and silica fume to the cement mixture, which improved its resistance in room temperature water. Given a global need to cut emissions Zhang said there was a large potential for uptake within construction industries. She stated that Australian and international companies had approached her, interested in the material. “Because we are aiming for more sustainability and a better environment, this material has a lot of potentials to be adopted by industry, I believe,” she said.


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