SUSU Postgraduate Student Suggests the Creation of Ecological Building Materials


By using nonutilizable wastes from mining and fire-proof manufacturing it is possible to create a quality and inexpensive analogue to the most popular building materials at this time – Portland cement.

This material is famous among builders under the name «magnesium oxychloride cement». Post graduate student of the Department of Building Materials and Products of the SUSU Institute of Architecture and Construction, Galina Averina, works on the development and improvement of the technology for its manufacture. The main area of her research is rational natural resource use. The young researcher was inspired by this topic while still a student in the third year of her degree while attending the course «Alternative Technology’. In the lectures, the professor from the Institute of Architecture and Construction Vladimir Spasibozhko talked about how it is possible to use the waste of various industrial manufacturing processes in detail and in an entertaining way.

The mining industry is one of the most important areas of development for the economy of our country and also one of the main manufacturers of many tons of non-utilizable wastes. For example, waste with a high magnesium content, useful for the manufacture of building materials in developing technologies – today there are about 4 million thousand tons according to the Russian state balance.

«In the year of ecology, I can say that our research is particularly current. My scientific advisor – Lyudmila Yakolevna Kramar, doctor of technical sciences – and I are trying to pay the increased ecological efficiency of the manufacture of building materials special attention. Using wastes as raw materials, we are able to liquidate existing dumbs rom the mining industry. The implementation of the technologies we’ve developed as additional production lines in industrial companies will allow them to become practically waste-free,» says Galina Fyodorovna.

Magnesium oxychloride cement is a fine powder of magnesium oxide obtained from the calcination of high-magnesium rocks. The researcher explains that these binders are a fairly promising subject of research since they have huge potential and are not yet used to their full capacity.

Galina Averina plans on utilizing the maximum possible amount of wastes from mining and fire-proof enterprises, increasing the popularity of magnesium oxychloride cement for clients and gradually broadening the number of products based upon them:

«It is quite simple to obtain magnesium oxychloride cement. It’s enough to expose raw powder to firing at low temperatures. Imagine: you have a basement, which is full of low-quality magnesium powders. They are not useful for the manufacture of fire-proof materials, because besides the main mineral (magnesium carbonate) they contain a large number of impurities. In our case, these impurities do not bother us. Just a small percent of impure materials can negatively impact the quality of magnesium oxychloride cement, but we have already learned how to remove their negative effects using a few technological approaches,» explains Galina Averina.

As a result, a good material is obtained which, as Galina Fyodorovna hopes, can one day replace Portland cement. Or, at the very least, confidently share the market niche with it – after all, with it you can also manufacture heavy concrete, sheet materials, cellular concrete, dry mixes, and more.

The main advantage of magnesium oxychloride cement is its low cost. This is from, first of all, the use of waste as the raw material. Second, from a significantly lower energy cost for manufacture. A temperature of 650-800 degrees Celsius is sufficient for firing magnesium powder, whereas Portland cement requires no less than 1300 and, as a result - a lot of fuel.

Last year, Galina Averina won the contest Scientific Prospects, which was held at SUSU as part of the 5-100 Project. She received a grant for the development of aerated concrete based on magnesium oxycholoride cement:

«At this time, this material does not exist in the construction materials market – we can be the absolute first. Right now, aerated concrete is created using cement and lime. Aerated concrete based on magnesium oxychloride cement does not require thermal treatment. As a result, our product will be much less expensive. In addition, like any other product based on magnesium oxychloride cement, it will have more quality characteristics; quick strength development and high indicators of strength, durability, and high ecological efficiency,» explains Galina Fyodorovna.

The young researcher already has a number of publications on this topic in international research journals which are indexed in the Scopus ad Web of Science databases.

«I think the necessity of having such publications will really help researchers of our university quickly enter the international scientific society. Quality research and developments published under our university’s banner will ensure its increased prestige both among Russian and international institutions of higher education,» says Galina Averina.

The researcher’s plans include defending her candidate dissertation and implementing her developments into manufacturing.


Yulia Uzmova, photo by Oleg Igoshin
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