Elkem Microsilica – A Green product for Green building in a Green Environment

Thinking and acting green is a necessity in today’s construction world, especially in the Middle East where natural solar energy may play an important role.

Implementing and monitoring the use of green materials can achieve a healthy green environment. Elkem microsilica is an environmentally friendly green material. It reduces the use of other materials / energy and can be used in combination with all supplementary cementitous products.

The many different properties of Elkem microsilica concrete are too numerous to list here. It is a tool of the 21st century construction engineer, a sign of relief for developers and contractors, a set example for environmentalists and a standpoint for durability.

Green product: Energy, water and materials are the three basic resources, used in every step of building, from design to construction, operation to maintenance and demolition. The best use of these resources with maximum efficiency is the prime objective of green building. Any product that fulfils the tough requirements of green building is considered a green product.

Because of the production and collection process, impact on environment, short and long term benefits in concrete Elkem microsilica is classified as a green product. Let’s start from its production process. It is not manufactured in itself but is collected as a by-product of the Silicon and Ferrosilicon industries. Once upon a time, this smoke used to pollute the air but Elkem started to collect it, implemented the latest technology and started using it in concrete for high to ultra high strength, durable and superior concrete. The waste smoke turned into a valuable raw material.

CO2 emissions are the most debated topic of today’s world and it’s a fact that cement is one of the larger contributors of human generated CO2 to the atmosphere. Elkem Microsilica helps to reduce cement quantity dramatically in the construction. Microsilica helps in two ways: by reducing the total cement in the mix or allowing large replacements with secondary cementitious materials; by improving the strength of the concrete so that unit dimensions can be reduced – meaning less total concrete is used. Triple blend mixes are frequently used to reduce the Portland cement quantity, by using OPC + G.G.B.S. or O.P.C. + Fly ash with the addition of Elkem microsilica. Proportions of 55%, 37% and 8%, or 70%, 25% and 5% respectively, are the types of combinations that can be used to get optimum results. Carbon dioxide emissions will be automatically reduced if there is less production of Portland cement.

Another important factor is the power required to produce steel. Elkem microsilica concrete increases the strength of the concrete, thus the structure can be redesigned with less steel consumption. A clear example is 311 South Walker Drive in Chicago. Elkem microsilica concrete at 83 MPa was specified in the major columns, allowing a reduction in column size. This meant a saving of some 3000 tones of rebar and 7650 cubic metres of concrete.

Green building and structures are very concerned about air quality. It is reported that indoor air pollution causes 14 times more deaths than out door air pollution. Most of our daily hours are spent indoors, we sleep approx one third of our whole life indoors, we work most of the time indoors, we shop indoors, our children study indoors. Reducing urban air pollution, thus improving indoor air quality helps people stay well. Elkem microsilica concrete allows reduction in column size and an increase in the span between columns, giving more space for air movement - a major contribution in providing good air quality. From an environmental view, this does not have to be just inside: Imagine a bridge with 2 metre diameter columns, every 8 metre span with 1 m slab thickness. Now compare that image to a bridge where the columns are only 1 metre diameter and are 35 metres apart. With more free space there is greater air movement, faster transit of vehicles and less congestion. Thanks to the use of Elkem microsilica there is less total concrete, less number of transit mixer movements, thus less consumption of diesel. Steel requirement is also less, with all the associated benefits from that saving.

 

Save energy!

is a slogan that should be the in the front of every individuals thinking, and for us, as technical intellectuals, it demands more. Elkem microsilica helps a lot in energy savings. Fast construction, less concrete, less steel will help reduce working hours and consumption of energy at site. Energy required to produce, transport and place concrete and steel is reduced. Water demand is minimized because of less production of concrete. Fewer concrete mixers will also reduce water consumption for washing vehicles.

The truly sky-scraping high-rise towers cannot be imagined without microsilica. Increasing tower heights means more floors per unit area of land, correspondingly less drainage and sewerage work, thus less consumptions of energy and power. Reduced size of columns and concrete walls will provide more carpet area and less dead load.

The operational cost of microsilica is same or less than other cementitous material. It is a cementitous material, non-hazardous, easy to handle, does not require special equipment; a standard batching plant can handle it.

 

Design

The unique properties of microsilica give architects and design engineers a vital tool to design the structure with reduced size of column, wall and slab thickness and steel quantity. The engineers have access to touch the sky; Burj Dubai is the example, following a long line of tall buildings that have used Elkem Microsilica concrete. Elegant and beautifully designed structures with dancing waves are all possible. Tremendously long spans between bridge piers are now commonplace.

 

Sustainable Concrete

Elkem microsilica contributes to sustainable concrete construction by means of durability & long service life, improved performance of blended cement, higher strength for reduced sections and increased resistance to wear, less CO2 released and energy needed.

A very important benefit of microsilica is with fast construction – less duration of traffic diversion – less emission of gases on diverted roads. Because of the high strength of concrete, the same column size can be maintained through out the structure, which leads to a very fast construction process.

In terms of durability, microsilica gives high resistance against corrosion, sulfate, ASR and chemical attack, as well as abrasion resistance. This leads to longer service life, reduced maintenance and extended hours of service for the structure. Money, energy and time for maintenance are greatly reduced.

Elkem microsilica does help in constructive areas as well as in demolition field. Higher strength means less material, which shows that the demolition waste will be automatically reduced for a durable and high performance concrete. Steel demolition waste will also be less because of reduced amount of steel used. All are interconnected, less material; less power required for demolition, less diesel to dump waste material thus less gas emission.

In a single sentence, we can say that, Elkem microsilica helps, both directly and indirectly, to minimize the threat of global warming.

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