November 25, 2017

Stronger, Faster, Greener: CONCRETE

It’s an ongoing focus at O&G: improving the performance of commonly ordered “ordinary” concretes and high-performance mixes required for demanding applications.

Bill Stanley, O&G Materials Division Vice President, heads the corporate effort to research and invest in innovations in concrete and cement technologies. He’s assisted by Quality Manager Jim Maher and his staff of four who assure the quality of aggregates and concrete leaving O&G’s eight plants. Stanley sees no end to the demand for more strength and faster curing. “High-rise construction is becoming all concrete, hand-in-hand with the development of quicker-setting, low-shrinkage mixtures,” he says. “That enables cast-in-place buildings to take shape more quickly, yielding more square feet faster.” The new mixes are also longer-lived, giving developers the 75-year or longer life cycle they are looking for.

High-performance concretes are ideal for all-concrete-framed construction, castable in more slender columns, thinner floors and thinner walls that reach seventy-five percent of their strength in just a day or two. With high-performance mixes, post-tensioning can begin a day after pouring, allowing the deck to be put into use as a base for building the next floor above it that much more quickly.

O&G is also locally sourcing materials to “green” the concrete coming from its batch plants. One such element that augments Portland cement is dolomitic marble from the company’s New Milford quarry which binds with the cement to produce impressive gains in strength. “We are also looking at replacing some of the cement in our mixes with common recycled glass,” Stanley says. Cleaned and ground to a powder, it is mixed with water and becomes a supplementary cementitious binder – a pozzolan – and is a highly durable, very strong, environmentally friendly alternative to cement.