Concrete made with industrial by-products saves sewage systems

An eco-friendly zero-cement concrete made with industrial by-products is battling the corrosion and fatbergs that plague sewage systems. General corrosion and build-ups of fat in sewers and pipelines cost billions in repairs and replacement pipes.

Researchers from RMIT University have developed an eco-friendly zero-cement concrete, which all but eliminates corrosion. Concrete corrosion and fatbergs plague sewage systems around the world, leading to costly and disruptive maintenance, writes a statement.

The concrete can withstand the corrosive acidic environment found in sewage pipes, while greatly reducing residual lime that leaches out, contributing to fatbergs.

Fatbergs are globs of congealed mass clogging sewers with fat, grease, oil and non-biodegradable junk like wet wipes and nappies, some growing to be 200 metres long and weighing tonnes, according to the statement.

The RMIT researchers, led by Dr Rajeev Roychand, created a concrete that eliminates free lime – a chemical compound that promotes corrosion and fatbergs.

Roychand said the solution is more durable than ordinary Portland cement, making it perfect for use in major infrastructure, such as sewage drainage pipes. By-products of the manufacturing industry are key ingredients of the cement-less concrete – a zero cement composite of nano-silica, fly-ash, slag and hydrated lime.

“Our zero-cement concrete achieves multiple benefits: it’s environmentally friendly, reduces concrete corrosion by 96% and totally eliminates residual lime that is instrumental in the formation of fatbergs,” Roychand said. “With further development, our zero-cement concrete could be made totally resistant to acid corrosion.

Image credit: Hello I’m Nik via Unsplash


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