Curtin cements research into high-reactivity metakaolin



Australian kaolin producer and silica sand exploration company Suvo Strategic Minerals has signed an agreement with Curtin University to investigate the application of high reactivity metakaolin (HRM) as a sustainable solution in decarbonising cement.

The team from Curtin University will investigate the global potential of HRM, and conduct a lifecycle assessment of HRM-based concrete in terms of carbon footprint, emission properties and energy cost savings from a sample of HRM product produced from Suvo’s White Cloud Kaolin project in Western Australia.

HRM is used and accepted by the concrete industry as an additive (pozzolan) for applications that require ultra-high performance, high-strength lightweight concrete.

The CO2 emissions of HRM-based concrete mixes are significantly lower and have the potential to halve the industry’s emissions when compared to conventional Portland cement.

Curtin University School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering senior lecturer Dr Thong Pham said the adoption of green concrete by the industry to date has been hindered due to the poor and variable quality of low-carbon materials that are suitable to replace Portland cement.

“Compared to other sustainable binders, HRM has much higher quality control and consistent chemical compositions, which make it a great substitute to typical energy-intensive Portland cement for an alternative yet excellent and reliable binder in green concrete,” Pham said.

“Suvo metakaolin will potentially be flash calcined to minimise carbon footprint and simultaneously provide optimum properties for use as a pozzolan, allowing for high cement replacement to significantly reduce CO2 emissions and improve concrete performance.

“Our research will focus on the viability and impact that HRM can have on rapidly decarbonising the global cement industry.”

The study is expected to demonstrate that the incorporation of HRM is an effective solution to improve the concrete properties and to generate green concretes.

The signing of this agreement aligns with Suvo’s strategy to supply minerals critical to decarbonising the global economy.

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