You are on page 1of 11

Fly ash

from waste product to valuable by-product. CPD710 – Heinz KR Janz 11160790

Fly ash from waste product to valuable by-product. CPD710 – Heinz KR Janz 11160790 Figure 1

Figure 1 - Fly Ash Spheres

Abstract

Worldwide, the manufacturing of Portland cement is responsible for 6 – 7% of the total CO2 produced by humans adding the greenhouse gas equivalent of 330 million cars driving 20116km’s per year(Build it green: High volume fly ash concrete – revised 8/17/05:1). By replacing portions of cement with a waste by-product called fly ash, significant CO2 production and air pollution can be reduced. The strength of concrete is increased, less water is consumed in the mixing and the durability of concrete is improved. (ibid: 2)

Introduction

The essence of this research report is to briefly explain what fly ash is and how it is produced and how it can make concrete a more sustainable product. The Author will analyse a South African product (Dura- or Super-Pozz) and report on the structural benefits that high volume fly ash product have on a concrete structure and how or if engineers will adapt the structural design of concrete frame structures with the use of high volume fly ash concrete.

What is fly ash and how is it produced?

The nature of Fly ash is tiny spherical shaped particles that act as ball bearings, thus making it able to fill small voids and produce denser concrete that requires less water when mixed (Build it green: High volume fly ash concrete – revised 8/17/05:2). Fly ash consists of silica, alumina and iron (ibid: 1). When mixed with lime and water a similar compound is formed then that of Portland cement (ibid: 1). It is a non-combustible waste product of coal-fired power plants (ibid: 1). When more than 25% of the cement in concrete is replaced by fly ash, it significantly improves the compressive strength and durability of concrete (ibid: 1). The amount of water used in mixing concrete which consist high levels of fly ash is reduced and less crack s appear (ibid: 1). By using less water in the mixture, a more cementitious paste is produced, thus making concrete stronger (ibid: 2). Fly ash lowers the heat during the hydration process, thus reducing concrete shrinkage and thermal cracking (ibid: 2). A comparison between high volume fly ash concrete and conventional concrete shows that less energy is used with the production of fly ash, being a waste product, than the energy intensive process of making Portland cement (ibid:

1). Fly ash increases the ultimate strength of concrete compared to the strength of Portland cement concrete (ibid: 1). Concrete is more durable and less water is used when mixing high volume fly ash concrete (ibid: 1) . The higher density of high volume fly ash concrete makes it less permeable to water penetration, thus increasing the protection of the reinforced steel and increasing the durability of the concrete(ibid: 2).

In an article by E.P Kearsley and P.J Wainwright published in the Journal of South African Institute of Civil Engineering, it is said that the maximum amount of cement which can be replaced by fly ash is 30%. Only 5% carbon content in fly ash is allowed and 12.5% of the particles can be larger than 45u.m (Kearsley, E.P., Wainwright, P.J. 2003:19). The workability of concrete is reduced and water demand increased if fly ash contains high carbon levels (ibid:19). Fly ash is classified in 2 types; ASTM class C and ASTM class F(ibid:19). Class C fly ash contains low levels of calcium and is a product of combusted anthracite and bituminous coal(ibid:19). The 28 day strength of concrete is reduced by class C fly ash, but the ultimate strength is increased. Class F fly ash contains high levels of calcium(ibid:19). Fly ash must comply with the requirements of the South African standard specification for Portland cement extenders (SABS 1491: Part II – 1989) (ibid:19).

An approximate 109 million tons of coal is consumed per year by the coal-fired power stations in South Africa,

producing

25

million

tons

of

ash.

(17 000

tons

of

ash

are

produced

in

a

day

(www.eskom.co.za/knowledge_centre/facts&figures accessed on 16/04/2011)

According to this article “Almost 90% of the ash produced in the generation process is called fly ash or pulverised fuel ash. The reason for this is that the coal is pulverised into a very fine dust (rather like cake flour) before being fed into the boilers to ensure efficient combustion. Larger particles of ash, called coarse ash, which make up the rest of the ash produced at the power station, drop down from the furnace and collect at the bottom in the ash hopper of the boiler. The fly ash is removed from the flue gas stream (exhaust gases from the boiler) by means of electrostatic precipitators or bag filter systems. After being removed from the collecting hoppers, the fly ash and coarse ash is stacked on huge dumps or ash dams (slurry dams), the latter at older power stations”.(www.eskom.co.za/knowledge_centre/facts&figures accessed on 16/04/2011)

An approximate 109 million tons of coal is consumed per year by the coal-fired power stations

Figure 2: Graphic illustration of the production of Fly Ash.

“Approximately 1.2 million tons of ash per year is sold to, amongst others, the cement industry where the ash is used as a cement extender. The ash consists of very fine, spherical particles and has an almost zero carbon content, high pozzolanic activity (or reactivity), and unusually high consistency. Fly ash is successfully used to enhance the quality and economy of concrete.” (Eskom, Ash management in Eskom, 2010).

Dura- or Super-Pozz , produced by Micron Materials, a division of Ash Resources (Pty) Ltd., is a high quality classified fly ash product, which not only improves the strength and durability of concrete but also the pumpability (www.superpozz.com, Dura-Pozz reaches new heights). Super-Pozz improves the flow properties and reduces the heat during the hydration process. Engineers and consultant have recognized this and has specified this product to a number of international project namely (ibid):

  • - Jumelrah Beach Residence, Dubai, UAE.

  • - Emirates Towers, Dubai, UAE

  • - Abu Dhabi Cricket Stadium, UAE

  • - 3 rd Crossing bridge in Bahrain

  • - The tallest building in the world, The Burj Dubai, UAE.

The following information was obtained in a report published by E.Y. Seedat, the product manager of Micron Material, South Africa.

Super-Pozz, is a new generation, unique, ultra-fine and highly reactive pozzolan (Seedat 2010:1). Super-Pozz can supply a number of benefits to a variety of cementitious systems to produce Superior Concrete (ibid: 1). Below various results of investigations will be illustrated and explain how Super-pozz applied on various levels in concrete can affect the workability, water requirement, admixture requirement, strength and durability (ibid: 1).

Less water used in a concrete mix is known to give an overall improvement in the properties of hardened concrete (ibid: 2). Where high performance concrete is used, an appropriate extender is needed to obtain certain strength requirements (ibid: 2). Silica fume is an extender normally specified where the increase in strength and low permeability are the primary requirements (ibid: 2). When silica fume is added to the concrete mix, more water is required to make the mix more workable and handle easier (ibid: 2). As mentioned above, the more water added to the concrete mix the lower the strength will be (ibid: 2).

To counter the requirement of adding more water, it is standard practice to incorporate a high-range water reducing admixture, namely Super-Pozz. Due to the unique, ultra fine particle size, the situation is changed (ibid:

2). Super-Pozz provides a reduced water demand for a given workability level up to 20% can be replaced (ibid: 2). The highly efficient Pozzolan product can either be used as a high range water reducer to improve compressive strength or as a super workability aid to improve the flow (ibid: 2).

Shown below are the typical chemical composition (table 1) and the typical physical characteristics (table 2) of Super-Pozz (ibid: 2). It is an extremely fine, light grey coloured powder composed primarily of amorphous calcium- silicates and aluminates (ibid: 2).

Dura- or Super-Pozz , produced by Micron Materials, a division of Ash Resources (Pty) Ltd., is

Table 1- typical chemical composition

Table 2 - the typical physical characteristics

It is shown from the chemical analysis that Super-Pozz will meet the Class F fly ash requirements of BS 3892 (ibid:

2). Super-Pozz is unique because of the particle size distribution, illustrated in figure 3 showing the comparative particle size distribution compared to fly ash and silica fume (ibid: 2).

It is shown from the chemical analysis that Super-Pozz will meet the Class F fly ash

Figure 3 – Particle size comparison

The water/binder ratio determines the quality and impermeability of high – performance concrete (ibid: 3). High range water reducers (HRWR) are used to ensure placement with low water contents (ibid: 3). An ultra-fine pozzolanic material such as silica fume is often utilized in High performance concrete and decreases the permeability and improves durability (ibid: 3).

To measure the effect of Super-Pozz on the workability, water requirement and HRWR, concrete mixes are based on a specific design methodology (ibid: 3).

  • - Workability is measured by keeping the water/binder ratio and HRWR content constant and by measuring the variation of the slump.

  • - Water demand is measured by keeping the high range water reducer dosage the same and varying the amount of water required to achieve the same slump.

  • - Admixture requirement is measured by keeping the water/binder ratio the same and varying the amount of HRWR required maintaining similar slump measurements.

The workability of concrete is substantially improved (as shown in figure 4) with the replacement of certain percentages of cement with Super-Pozz. (ibid: 3).

Figure 4 – Evaluation of workability One of the main objectives of Super-Pozz is to improve

Figure 4 – Evaluation of workability

One of the main objectives of Super-Pozz is to improve the strength of concrete (ibid: 4). Shown in table 3, extenders containing silica fume improves the initial development strength of concrete compared to the Super- pozz extender. The compressive strength that silica fume and Super-Pozz extenders give to concrete are very similar after 90 days , the only difference is that more water is required in the mix if a silica fume extender is used. (Seedat E.Y)

Figure 4 – Evaluation of workability One of the main objectives of Super-Pozz is to improve

Table 3 – Effect on the compressive strength with the addition of Super-pozz

Because of the sphericity and ideal particle size of Super-Pozz, it reduces the amount of water needed in the mix to reach a slump of 125mm (ibid: 5). To test this, the binder content, HRWR and workability were kept constant and then the water requirement can be measured, shown in table 4 and figure 5 (ibid: 5).

Figure 4 – Evaluation of workability One of the main objectives of Super-Pozz is to improve

Table 4 – Effect of Super-Pozz on the water required to maintain a constant slump

Figure 5 – Evaluation of water requirement An increase in the compressive strength of the concrete

Figure 5 – Evaluation of water requirement

An increase in the compressive strength of the concrete with a reduction in the water/binder ratio is noticeable when the binder content is kept constant (ibid: 6). The addition of Super-pozz facilitates a lower water/binder ratio and that results in the compressive strength being achieved at all stages (ibid: 7). The mix containing the Super-pozz exceeded the compressive strength achieved by the silica fume mix after 56 days (ibid: 7).

Figure 5 – Evaluation of water requirement An increase in the compressive strength of the concrete

Table 5 – Compressive strength for extenders of equal high range water reducer and slump

The concrete mix containing Super-pozz shows a much higher strength gain between 28 and 90 days than the concrete mix containing silica fume (See Table 5) (ibid: 7). When concrete is mixed and the compressive strength is easily achieved, less admixture content can be used to attain the desired workability because of the particle shape of Super-pozz (ibid: 7). As shown in table 6, the workability and water content was kept constant and the amount of HRWR required for a slump of about 125mm were measured (ibid: 7).

Figure 5 – Evaluation of water requirement An increase in the compressive strength of the concrete

Table 6 – Amount of high range water reducers required to maintain similar slump

Figure 6 – Evaluation of admixture requirement As the results show in table 6 and figure

Figure 6 – Evaluation of admixture requirement

As the results show in table 6 and figure 6, to maintain the same workability, concrete containing 10% Super-Pozz reduces the HRWR requirements while silica fume increases the requirement of high range water reducers (ibid:

8). It shows that Super-Pozz provides a lower HRWR dosage (ibid: 8).

The compressive strength of concrete which is mixed with Super-Pozz shows an increase at all the day periods as shown in table 7 (ibid: 8). The more Super-Pozz added to the mix, the higher the strength gain is at the later periods (ibid: 8).

Figure 6 – Evaluation of admixture requirement As the results show in table 6 and figure

Table 7 – Compressive strength for concrete of equal slump and water/binder ratio

The above information indicates that many factors influence the rate of strength development in concrete mixes

containing Super-Pozz (ibid: 8). In order to maximise the benefits of using Super-Pozz, particular attention must be given to mix design criteria by using the same amount of water and superplasticiser in concrete mixes containing Super-Pozz, with all the tests done on super-pozz, the results did not give any insight into the improvement of the durability of the concrete (ibid: 8). The following factors were measured to help with the assessment of the increase in durability provided by Super- pozz (ibid: 9).

  • - Density.

  • - Impermeability of the binder paste microstructure.

  • - Water permeability and absorption.

  • - Chloride permeability.

The most important aspect when using Super-pozz is the ability of the product to improve the durability of concrete by decreasing the water demand without affecting the workability (ibid: 9). Stated in the report published by E.Y. Seedat

“...is

that the results obtained shows that Super-Pozz can be used as a viable substitute for silica fume. If

the advantages of Super-Pozz are exploited in the concrete mix design, the initial rate of strength development was found to be the same or similar to those of silica fume mixes. At later ages, however, the

pozzolanic activity of Super-Pozz leads to higher compressive strength values. Durability test measuring the water permeability and absorption as well as chloride permeability showed comparable values for both silica fume and Super-Pozz mixes (ibid: 10).”

The use of Super-Pozz, as an alternative to silica fume can be effective in enhancing the properties of concrete, both in its fresh and hardened state. Due to the lower water demand required, Super-Pozz can be ideally used to (ibid: 11):

  • - Reduce the water/binder ratio

  • - Using more cost-effective admixtures ; or

  • - A combination of the above

The following benefits were identified (ibid: 11):

  • - Reduced water demand: higher strengths, lower shrinkage

  • - The use of more cost effective admixture dosages

  • - Improved workability and flow characteristics

  • - Higher early strengths and better ultimate strengths

  • - Improved durability

  • - Lower shrinkage

The use of Super-Pozz offers exciting opportunities in various cementitious applications. Among these are (ibid: 11):

  • - High Performance Readymix and Precast concrete

  • - Self-Compacting concrete (SCC)

  • - Spray concrete i.e. Shotcrete and Guniting applications

  • - Specialist Grouts

  • - Self-levelling floor screeds, precision grouts and repairs

  • - Propriety Pre-mix formulations

According to the report published by E.Y. Seedat ,“Future developments will probably see the co-utilization of Super-Pozz and silica fume. With the ever increasing need to provide stronger more durable concrete, the lower water content required by Super-Pozz will provide civil engineers with the opportunity to simultaneously exploit the best properties of both products” (ibid: 11).

Conclusion

In an interview with Mr Oberholzen, Structures Lecturer at U.P on April 4 2011, he explained that when using a higher compressive strength concrete than normal a few changes in the structural design will have to be made. The columns can be smaller in size because of the higher compressive strength of the columns. In reinforced concrete slabs and beams, the thickness of the slabs and beams can be reduced but thicker bottom steel will have to be used to increase the tensile strength given to the concrete by the steel reinforcing. This is done to

compensate for the higher compressive strength of the concrete. (Oberholzen. )

This statement is also confirmed by Vincent T.H. CHU whereby he stated that:

“To increase the strength of concrete, say from 40MPa to 80MPa, it definitely helps in improving the structural performance of the structure by producing a denser, more durable and higher load capacity concrete. The size of concrete members can be significantly reduced resulting in substantial cost savings. However, an increase of concrete strength is also accompanied by the occurrence of thermal cracking. With an increase in concrete strength, the cement content is increased and this leads to higher thermal strains. Consequently, additional reinforcement has to be introduced to control these additional cracks caused by the increase in concrete strength. Moreover, the ductility of concrete decreases with an increase in concrete strength. Attention should be paid during the design of high strength concrete to increase the ductility of concrete. In addition, fire resistance of high strength concrete is found to be less than normal strength concrete as suggested by Odd E. Gjorv (1994). Though the tensile strength of high strength concrete is higher than that of normal concrete, the rate of increase of tensile strength is not proportional to the increase of compressive strength. For normal concrete, tensile strength is about one- tenth of compressive strength. However, for high strength concrete, it may only drop to 5% of compressive strength. Moreover, owing to a low aggregate content of high strength concrete, creep and shrinkage increases.” (Vincent T.H,:17-18)

Herewith the author concludes from the research done for, that the environmental impact of concrete can be reduced by replacing portions of cement with a waste product derived from fired coal power stations called fly ash. Fly ash based products can improve the properties of concrete and also reduce the amount of water used in the mixing of concrete making the concrete more sustainable. This is a very import aspect as water is one of the most precious resources on earth, and also with the strength of concrete improved, less volume of material can be used in the building of a concrete structure. The points mentioned above don’t necessarily have a cost saving aspect but it will definitely have a positive impact on the environment. (2896 words)

LIST OF ILLUSTRATION

FIGURES

Figure 1: Fly Ash Spheres - sourced from www.rmajko.com/flyashresourcecentre/splashpage

Figure 2 : Graphic illustration of the production of Fly: http://www.ukqaa.org.uk/Pictures2/PS_Process_1.jpg

Figure 3 – Particle size comparison, Super-Pozz the new generation pozzolan for superior concrete, Seedat E.Y, Page 3

Figure 4 – Evaluation of workability, Super-Pozz the new generation pozzolan for superior concrete, Seedat E.Y, Page 5

Figure 5 – Evaluation of water requirement, Super-Pozz the new generation pozzolan for superior concrete, Seedat E.Y, Page 6

Figure 6 – Evaluation of admixture requirement, Super-Pozz the new generation pozzolan for superior concrete, Seedat E.Y, Page 7

TABLES

Table 1- typical chemical composition, Super-Pozz the new generation pozzolan for superior concrete, Seedat E.Y, Page 2

Table 2 - the typical physical characteristics, Super-Pozz the new generation pozzolan for superior concrete, Seedat E.Y, Page 2

Table 3 – Effect on the compressive strength with the addition of Super-pozz, Super-Pozz the new generation pozzolan for superior concrete, Seedat E.Y, Page 5

Table 4 – Effect of Super-Pozz on the water required to maintain a constant slump, Super-Pozz the new generation pozzolan for superior concrete, Seedat E.Y, Page 6

Table 5 –compressive strength for extenders of equal high range water reducer and slump, Super-Pozz the new generation pozzolan for superior concrete, Seedat E.Y, Page 6

Table 6 – amount of high range water reducers required to maintain similar slump, Super-Pozz the new generation pozzolan for superior concrete, Seedat E.Y, Page 7

Table 7 – Compressive strength for concrete of equal slump and water/binder ratio, Super-Pozz the new generation pozzolan for superior concrete, Seedat E.Y, Page 8

BIBLIOGRAPHY

ARTICLES

Build it green: High volume fly ash concrete – revised 8/17/05

http://www.builditgreen.org/attachments/wysiwyg/22/Fly-Ash-Concrete.pdf

Kearsley, E.P., Wainwright, P.J. 2003. Journal of south African Insitute of Civil Engineering. The effect of fly ash properties on concrete strength, 45(1):19-24

Eskom Generation Communication CO 0004 revision 7 (October 2010) Ash management in Eskom - http://www.eskom.co.za/content/CO_0004AshManRev7.pdf accessed on 16/04/2011)

Micron Materials, Dura-Pozz reached new heights, http://www.superpozz.com/Pages/Prod/prod.html, accessed on 2011/04/05

Seedat,E.Y. 2010. Super-Pozz, the new generation pozzolan for superior concrete

INTERVIEWS

Oberholzen,. 4 th year Honours Structures Lecturer at U.P, on April 4 2011, Pretoria.

BOOKS

CHU Vincent T.H 200 questions and answers on practical civil engineering works (to be published)