Cementitious construction materials are ubiquitously consumed for infrastructure development, and demand will rapidly increase in development of emerging economies. The production of clinker contributes several billion tonnes of CO2 emissions to global climate change. Cementitious materials can be engineered for reducing the demand on conventional raw materials while retaining the essential structural properties. This includes substitution of cement with low cost, renewable, waste materials, processing additives and nanomaterials. Limestone calcined clay cement (LC3) is a new low-carbon cement composed of clinker, calcined clay, and limestone offering a sustainable technological solution by reducing CO2 emissions up to 40% compared to ordinary Portland cement. LC3 lowers investment and production costs, while utilising materials and technologies that are readily adaptable by cement industries.
UQ and IITD established a research partnership to assess the feasibility of implementing LC3. The proposed joint-PhD project aims to advance performance and sustainability of LC3 construction materials by utilising the reinforcement potential of natural nanomaterials. The research component on the theory and development of model LC3 composition will be investigated at IIT-Delhi, while the preparation of nanomaterials with different surface chemistry and shape factor from renewable resources (lignocellulose and inorganic clays) and their influence on the structure and performance of LC3 will be investigated at UQ.
The systematic investigation will include
- Develop the low-clinker LC3 compositions and understand the influence of components on the structural development
- Prepare and screen the nanomaterials with different surface functionalities and dimensions from lignocellulose biomass and natural inorganic clays
- Investigate the influence of nanomaterials on the microstructure development and mechanical performance of the LC3
- Model and validate the relationship between the surface functionalities, dimensions of nanomaterials and performance of LC3
The specific outcomes from this research will advance the knowledge gap in the use of nanomaterials in LC3 cementitious materials and generate new knowledge on controlling the hydration kinetics, microstructure and porosity and improving durability of LC3 based construction materials. Broadly this research contributes to the Advanced Manufacturing sector through the engineering of construction materials.
LC3 technology itself has the ability to address challenges in raw materials consumption by substituting large amount of energy-intensive clinker with locally sourced kaolinic clays and limestone. It reduces the carbon emissions up to 40% as compared to ordinary Portland cements. Particularly, the improvements addressed with nanomaterials from renewable resources (lignocellulose) and inorganic clays will further benefit the durability of building materials.
The implementation of LC3 technology will enable the utilisation of low-cost supplementary cement materials. The use of locally resourced nanomaterials will be enhanced by recycling of lignocellulosic biomass waste and mineral waste.