Admixtures and sustainability
Cement additives and concrete admixtures are construction chemicals that reliably improve the sustainability of a broad range of cement-based systems. This improvement can be derived from enhancing durability and strength through water reduction, and catalyzing the cement hydration process to enable replacement of clinker with supplementary cementitious materials. Through current best practices, incorporation of these potent chemicals at a fraction of a percent of the entire concrete mix affords a clinker replacement of about 20% by weight. This replacement amount can be more than doubled with correct mix proportioning. Innovative technologies such as pre-test tools and smart concrete management systems further improve the effectiveness of admixtures applied in both current and new cementitious materials. Provided longer set times, a consequence of SCM incorporations, can be tolerated, further reduction in CO2 emissions can be attained. Making trade-offs such as this will be essential to optimizing the sustainability of cement-based materials.