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Slag in Concrete: What Is It and Why Use It?
Modern-day construction companies may be seeking a stronger, longer-lasting alternative to Portland cement. Fortunately, they may meet their perfect match by utilizing slag in concrete. It can significantly improve traditional concrete, replace substantially a high percentage of cement, or replace the cement altogether. Any construction or infrastructure project may benefit from Silvi Materials’ high-quality slag. Find out more about this excellent cementitious substitute below.
What Is Blast Furnace Slag and Slag Cement?
Slag cement comes from ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS). The substance is a by-product of steel manufacturing. Companies can chill the granules and grind them into a fine powder. Once combined with cement in concrete mixes, it produces superior hardened concrete product.
Benefits of Slag Concrete
Slag concrete can be advantageous for any of your upcoming construction projects. There are five main benefits:
1. Higher Workability and Finishability
Construction companies may prefer working with slag concrete. Superior viscidity and lower initial water absorption ensure easy placement and manipulation. Additionally, a longer setting time means crews can achieve a flawless finish every time.
2. Stronger Concrete
Ready-mix concrete with slag offers long-term strength. Since the slag is finer than traditional cement, it fills more space with cementitious material. Additionally, slag silicates allow for greater calcium-silicate-hydrate (CSH) production than Portland cement. This contributes to a denser concrete paste. Ultimately, these factors lead to a more robust concrete over time. Yet, extended hydration and setting times mean early strength (before 28 days) remains low.
3. Lower Permeability
Low permeability is ideal for concrete. It protects the structural material from aggressive chemicals. It also prevents the leaching of soluble materials into the ground. Unlike Portland cement, slag cement can generate extra CSH. It creates denser, stronger concrete. Ultimately, the higher the CSH, the lower the concrete permeability.
4. Better ASR Mitigation
Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR) is a prominent issue with concrete. Unfortunately, it leads to cracks and deterioration over time. Some aspects of Portland cement, specifically alkali, reactive aggregates, and water, facilitate ASR. Alternatively, partially replacing Portland cement with slag cement renders alkalis non-reactive. Additionally, it reduces the amount of water available for any reactions. As a result, slag concrete has a lower risk of future ASR.
5. Environmentally Friendly Product
Many construction projects prioritize green initiatives. These goals place slag concrete as a desirable structural material for multiple reasons:
- Recycled Product: Slag recycles GGBFS, a by-product typically intended for disposal.
- Less Waste: Slag cement production requires much less energy. They produce less greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions.
- Less Water: Slag concrete uses less water than traditional concrete mixes, so construction companies can pride themselves on a low environmental impact.
- Higher Reflection: Light gray concrete color allows for higher reflection. As a result, roadways and parking lots may require less artificial lighting. Additionally, the reflection lowers heat absorption, reducing the need for artificial cooling.
- Lower Maintenance: Slag concrete is strong and durable. Accordingly, it leads to less maintenance repairs, and replacements than Portland cement.
Slag Concrete Applications
American construction has been using slag cement for well over 100 years. However, it has become increasingly popular as a structural material in the last few decades. Companies and crews can use slag in most construction projects, including:
- High-Rise Buildings
- Retaining Walls
- Marine Applications
- Wastewater Applications
Find High-Grade Blast Furnace Slag Cement and Concrete Near You
Can your construction project benefit from the use of slag in concrete? Silvi Materials is your trusted slag supplier for New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. We create strong and durable ready-mix concrete containing premium-grade slag. If you want to know more about our slag products or other aggregate materials, contact Silvi Materials today!