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Construction materials from quarrying wastes

constructionESTECHquarry mudRecyclingthermal insulationwaste recovery

Introduction

We present here a new technology which allows producing materials with high mechanical properties, starting from quarrying wastes (stone muds). In the process, the mud is mixed with an alkaline solution and the mixture is cast in plastic mold and cured at 80°C for 24- 48 hours. From physical and mechanical data of the obtained samples, application for constructions elements is envisaged, particularly for cellular blocks and panels to be used as insulator elements.

Technical features

Stone muds (wastes derived from the extraction and cutting operations of ornamental stones) are today a serious issue, by the economic and environmental points of view. In Europe, each year 6-9 Mtons of stone muds are landfilled, causing the progressive and quick filling of the dumps and implying high disposal costs (20-50 €/ton). By this technology, stone muds are massively employed for producing materials and elements to be used in the construction sector. The process implies the mixing of the mud with and alkaline activator, the casting of the mixture in moulds and the curing at 80°C, in which the setting and hardening phases of the material take place, similarly to traditional cement. However, with respect to traditional binders, this process requires less energy since no mining, neither grinding and high-temperature firing steps are necessary. Being high the volume of available muds, scalability of the process till the industrial scale is feasible.

Possible Applications

  • Construction Sector;
  • Possible applications are those covered today by commercial products such as autoclaved aerated concrete and cellular bricks;
  • Blocks or panels for thermal and acoustic insulation for internal and external non-bearing walls.

Advantages

  • Massive employment of stone muds: alternative to dumps and annihilation of disposal costs;
  • Reduced economic and environmental impact as respect to competitive commercial products;
  • Versatile technology, with the possibility to produce multilayer materials with improved performance.