Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Whole life cycle performance of Low Carbon Cement (LCC) concrete systems

At a glance

Funding body: ESPRC industrial CASE studentship (BRE Trust)
Principal investigator: Kevin Paine
Co-investigators: Pete Walker and Keith Quillin (BRE)
Researcher: Socrates Ioannou
Dates: 2008-2011


Portland cement production is a significant contributing factor to global warming and climate change. Recognising this, the cement industry has made progress towards developing low-carbon cements (LCC) based on wholly-different technologies. The proposed research project will determine the whole-life environmental impact associated with the use of LCC, when used in concretes normalised with respect to performance (strength, stability and durability) as determined through standardised concrete property methods. The outputs will demonstrate whether LCC have potential for use in the UK, in their present form, and steps that could be taken to develop them for UK markets.

The project investigates the potential for using alternative low carbon cements in structural concrete to reduce the environmental impact associated with Portland cement manufacture. The research focuses on the use of cements having ettringite as the main binding phase, for example supersulfated cements and calcium sulfoaluminate cements.

The microstructure, stability and hydration mechanism of these cementitious systems is being investigated and the resulting performance of low carbon cement concretes will be compared to that of Portland composite cement concretes, for a range of engineering, permeability and durability requirements. For a given benchmark level of performance the project will carry out an environmental life cycle analysis to demonstrate the potential for adoption of low carbon cements in the UK markets.