Mechanical properties and microstructure of low carbon binders manufactured from calcined canal sediments and ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBS)

Rachid Hadj Sadok, Walid Maherzi, Mahfoud Benzerzour, Richard Lord, Keith Torrance, Agnes Zambon, Nor-Edine Abriak

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This research study evaluated the effects of adding Scottish canal sediment after calcination at 750 °C in combination with GGBS on hydration, strength and microstructural properties in ternary cement mixtures in order to reduce their carbon footprint (CO2) and cost. A series of physico-chemical, hydration heat, mechanic performance, mercury porosity and microstructure tests or observations was performed in order to evaluate the fresh and hardened properties. The physical and chemical characterisation of the calcined sediments revealed good pozzolanic properties that could be valorised as a potential co-product in the cement industry. The results obtained for mortars with various percentages of calcined sediment confirmed that this represents a previously unrecognised potential source of high reactivity pozzolanic materials. The evolution of the compressive strength for the different types of mortars based on the partial substitution of cement by slag and calcined sediments showed a linear increase in compressive strength for 90 days. The best compressive strengths and porosity were observed in mortars composed of 50% cement, 40% slag and 10% calcined sediment (CSS10%) after 90 days. In conclusion, the addition of calcined canal sediments as an artificial pozzolanic material could improve strength and save significant amounts of energy or greenhouse gas emissions, while potentially contributing to Scotland's ambitious 2045 net zero target and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 in the UK and Europe.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9057
Number of pages21
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2021


  • calcined canal sediment
  • slag
  • characterisation
  • ternary cement
  • circular economy
  • greenhouse gas emissions
  • eco-friendly binders

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