Quaternary blends of portland cement, metakaolin, biomass ash and granite powder for production of self-compacting concrete

Gemma Rojo-López, Sandra Nunes, Belén González-Fonteboa*, Fernando Martínez-Abella

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Given the rising societal pressure towards sustainable waste management and resource efficiency, in a more circular economy, an increased use and diversification of supplementary cementitious materials (SCM) will be necessary to achieve the CO2 mitigation goals. The current study addresses the development of self-compacting concrete, replacing part of the cement (the primary source of CO2 emissions) by metakaolin and wastes derived from two industrial sectors operating in the “Galicia–North of Portugal Euroregion”: wood manufacturing and natural stone quarrying. A study was carried out at the mortar level to investigate the effect of the mix design variables on several engineering properties of the self-compacting concrete. Statistically designed experiments reveal that an increase in water/powder volume ratio has a dominant effect on the fresh state properties, whereas the water/cement weight ratio has a dominant effect on the hardened state properties. A like-for-like comparison of the proposed quaternary blends and previously studied binary/ternary blends indicates that these mixtures exhibit improved self-compacting ability, greater compressive strength, and can offer interesting opportunities to reduce the unit cost and environmental impact of self-compacting concrete per m3. Four different mortar mixtures were optimised to achieve excellent self-compacting ability yet with distinct compressive strength levels at 28 days (65, 70, 75, and 80 MPa). A single measure of the material efficiency is proposed herein to reflect the engineering properties improvement (workability, compressive strength, and durability) over its economic (unit cost) and environmental impact.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121666
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Biomass ash
  • Granite powder
  • Material efficiency
  • Metakaolin
  • Statistical factorial design
  • Waste minimisation


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