Calculating the total environmental impact of concrete with and without natural zeolite as a Portland cement replacement.
A joint research team from the University of Mazandaran (Iran) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) developed a method of quantifying the environmental impact of different concrete mixtures. The team used this method to analyze the life cycle assessment of using natural zeolite at a 20% replacement to Portland Cement.
Hardened test blocks were tested against sulfate attack, which is the main cause of concrete corrosion in the salty Caspian sea. They predicted the strength reduction and service life of the concrete samples exposed to sulfate attack.
The research team also quantified the global warming potential (GWP) of the concrete blends, with and without natural zeolite, over the course of a 100-year time period.
The results showed that both the mechanical and durability performance of the natural zeolite concrete is better than the ordinary concrete, and that a replacement ratio of 20% natural zeolite to Portland cement increased durability and reduced water permeability.
The authors conclude that the service life of the concrete with 20% of the Portland cement replaced with natural zeolite reduced the global warming potential by almost 70%.
Based on this work natural zeolite is a great eco-friendly addition to concrete mixtures, especially in cases of high sulfate exposure like in saltwater. Off-shore drilling platforms and windmills may consider the addition of natural zeolite in their concrete blends.
Download the original research paper here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1X3jLUO7rhHge_rlXkzuYh0UeCcq6smhQ/view?usp=sharing