Environment-friendly Magnesite Concrete Is Being Developed at SUSU

Current development of science and engineering inevitably affects the environment; the interaction of human beings and nature is especially visible in ecological problems caused by the mining industry. In the process of natural resources mining, tailings are generated during preparation and treatment and then forwarded todumping sites. The scientists of South Ural State University are solving the problem of disposal of such magnesium-containing waste by using it as raw materials for production of magnesite concrete.

Wastes as Construction Raw Materials

Egor Lazarevich, student of the SUSU Institute of Architecture and Construction, is studying the possibility of using the waste dumpings of the plant of OJSC Magnezit Group (Satka) for production of heavy magnesite concrete. The student’s academic advisor is Aleksandr Orlov, Head of the Department of Building Materials and Products at the SUSU Institute of Architecture and Construction.

“The Magnezit plant is the world’s major producer of highly-resistant refractory materials based on natural magnesite raw materials; it’s a full technological cycle enterprise. Unfortunately, the dumpings formed as a result of its functioning are polluting the environment. Our idea is to use this unclaimed material, and at the same time do good to ecology,” shares Egor Lazarevich.

The wastes generated in the course of development of natural resources deposits are promising raw materials for production of a wide range of high-quality construction materials. Using them in this field will allow for not only reducing ecological load on the environment, and creating “green” mining enterprises, but also for producing quality and competitive goods.

All Concrete Components Made of One and the Same Material

“Initially we came up with an idea to use one material for all the components of a concrete mix. The probability of obtaining great results with aggregates made of one and the same material was increased by mineralogical similarity of the components. Of course, we studied different aggregates, but in the course of our research it became clear that exactly this composition would be optimal, especially that it doesn’t require any additional materials,” explains the SUSU student.

Goods based on magnesite cements are characterized with quick development of strength without thermal treatment and with high strength parameters; high processibility; resistance to petroleum products, fungi and bacteria; low wearing. But the technology of producing classical heavy concrete based on magnesite cement has notbeen elaborated up to this point. That is why the share of using magnesite cements is not that big, as compared to such currently most popular binding substance as portland-cement and its variations.

“We’d like to bring this material up to the level when a wider circle of people will be able to work with it,” continues Egor Lazarevich. “At present in our experiments we’re trying to reveal all plusses and minuses of this material, what the manufacturers may come across during its production. Our task is to commercialize the magnesite concrete. The first sample has already been successfully tested in our laboratory.”

The scientists of South Ural State University are hoping that the development of this production technology will allow to significantly expand the field of use for magnesite cements in construction, what in its turn will make them more popular in general and will considerably speed up the process of handling the dumping sites of magnesite productions.

Solution to Problems, and Production Plans

“We’re planning that in the future it will be possible to produce a whole range of the required components from one and the same material, and at one and the same enterprise. From dolomite brocken stone, by milling and firing it, magnesite cement may be produced; and fine and coarse aggregates may be produced by crushing raw stone. Of course, to bring this idea to life, big investments are needed. But eventually the production itself will be cost-efficient and good for the ecological situation of the Chelyabinsk Region,” stresses Egor Lazarevich.

The performed research will be presented by Egor Lazarevich at the defense of his graduation qualification work, and might become the field of his Master’s research. The preliminary research results will be published in the May issue of the journal SUSU Bulletin: Construction Series. The final research results are planned to be presented at the forthcoming conference on Construction, Architecture and Technosphere Safety with further publishing in the collected papers indexed at Scopus scientometrical database.

Attached files
  • Egor Lazarevich
  • Magnesite Concrete
  • Egor Lazarevich