Launch Slideshow

Image

From Dust to Block

From Dust to Block

  • Image

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/tmp3A0%2Etmp_tcm77-1296362.jpg

    Image

    300

    John Porterfield, owner of Porter Block, discusses the results of the compressive break of concrete made with mine tailings with Mike Meyer, lab technician at the World Center for Concrete Technology.

  • Image

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/tmp3A1%2Etmp_tcm77-1296366.jpg

    Image

    250

    John Porterfield watches block production at the World Center for Concrete Technology.

  • Image

    http://www.theconcreteproducer.com/Images/tmp3A2%2Etmp_tcm77-1296369.jpg

    Image

    500

Porterfield credits Krebs and Eller in helping him achieve his goal. The men, with support from the ACC faculty, have not only proven an effective way to pelletize the fine dust-like tailings in pea-sized aggregate, they have also developed a mix design that produces a block that conforms to the requirements as outlined in C 90.

Porterfield has been impressed by the dedicated approach that WCCT and ACC bring to concrete research. “Kevin Lundquist, the ACC student who has performed much of the study's work, has been very helpful,” says Porterfield. With results indicating that mine tailings can be a successful aggregate, Porterfield plans to move forward. He wants to establish a new blockmaking facility in Whitefish.

Not only rock

While much of the WCCT work has been on using recycled aggregate sources to develop a green block, manufacturers of other ingredients have also taken advantage of the center's experience. Hycrete, a New Jersey-based manufacturer, has worked with the staff to determine how its waterproofing admixture can benefit the masonry industry.

Hycrete's staff is heavily involved in stainability. Their product has been certified Cradle-to-Cradle by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry. When used, a system admixture waterproofs the entire structure. It can eliminate the need for external membranes typically used to waterproof concrete. This approach also makes the concrete more easily recyclable following demolition, and can eliminate thousands of pounds of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), CO2, and non-renewable content.

“As the clean technology and material science industries progress, there will be a natural evolution toward intelligent building materials,” says Shayne Veramallay, Hycrete's director of sustainability and business development. Hycrete is already an example of such innovation where its hydrophobic concrete technology platform combines the functionality of a traditional exterior waterproofing membrane directly into the concrete.

Other cleantech companies are also working on building products that offer high R-value materials, high levels of recycled content, intelligent water management, or even high solar reflectivity. All of these technologies simplify design while offering greater life cycle value and minimal environmental impact.

Traditionally, the manufacturer focused its efforts on the ready-mixed concrete market. But with the work done at WCCT, it is looking toward blockmaking as the next opportunity.

“Eco-friendly building materials that save construction costs and streamline the construction schedule are truly rare finds,” says David Rosenberg, Hycrete's CEO. Many contractors, architects, and building engineers believe green materials don't make sense during economically challenging times. But Hycrete is an exception because it's less-expensive than membranes, it can shave weeks, even months, off construction schedules and it ultimately helps buildings last longer with its anti-corrosion benefits.

To learn more, visit the following Web sites:

  • World Center for Concrete Technology, www.wcct.net
  • Porter Block, www.porterblock.com
  • Alpena Community College's Concrete Technology Degree: www.alpenacc.edu/programs/concrete
  • Hycrete: www.hycrete.com
  •