Australian scientists working to close the loop on steel waste - Planet Ark Environmental Foundation

Australian scientists working to close the loop on steel waste

By Liam Taylor  April 28th, 2020

Sewage and steel slag are probably not the first terms that come to mind when thinking of concrete, but Australian researchers are hopeful the two waste products could create a stronger concrete through a zero-waste approach.

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Sewage and steel slag are probably not the first terms that come to mind when thinking of concrete, but Australian researchers are hopeful the two waste products could create a better product through a zero-waste approach.

A study from RMIT University has found integrating waste steel slag and sewage wastewater in creating concrete results in a much stronger concrete product. The results provide a potential alternative for two waste stream that have traditionally presented significant issues in their disposal.

Steel slag is the waste product created in the process of creating steel, essentially being composed of all the various impurities that come out of the alloys used to create quality steel. Given steel production is one of the largest heavy industries in the world, significant amounts of slag are produced; slag that is highly prized as a strong, durable aggregate material for concrete. 

 “The global steel making industry produces over 130 million tons of steel slag every year," water engineer Biplob Pramanik, of Melbourne’s RMIT University, said in a statement.

“A lot of this by-product already goes into concrete, but we’re missing the opportunity to wring out the full benefits of this material. Making stronger concrete could be as simple as enhancing the steel slag by first using it to treat our wastewater.” 

The team of researchers from RMIT found that using steel slag to treat sewage wastewater not only removed the harmful chemical compounds from the water, but also enhanced the chemical properties of slag that make it so good to use as concrete aggregate. The researchers are currently looking into further research on how to implement the approach at a larger scale.

 

Positive Action

  • Find out more about the innovative study from RMIT.
  • Consider responsibly sourced wood as an alternative building material to concrete. Visit Make It Wood for more information.

 

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Positive Environment News has been compiled using publicly available information. Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.

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By Liam Taylor

Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia. Joining the communications team at Planet Ark, he hopes to inspire positive environmental behaviour through effective and positive messaging.

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