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A novel beneficiation process for producing high-quality recycled concrete aggregates using concentrated solar energy

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Abstract

The use of recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) from construction and demolition (C&D) waste is a rational way towards better sustainability in the construction industry. By using concentrated solar energy for the heating, thermomechanical beneficiation of concrete waste has been shown here to produce high-quality RCA. In this pioneering study, demolished concrete was heated using solar radiation concentrated through large reflectors and cast iron receivers, and subsequently scrubbed to yield coarse and fine RCA, with properties similar to those of pristine aggregates and much better than those obtained from just mechanical crushing. The concrete produced using these beneficiated aggregates is seen to meet the requirements for typical structural applications.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the Brahma Kumaris World Renewal Spiritual Trust at Abu Road, Rajasthan, India, for giving permission to conduct experiments at the India One Solar Thermal Power Plant. The suggestions and technical insights from plant staff, especially Mr. Pankaj Nondwal, Mr. Amlesh Kumar, Mr. Yogendra and Mr. Vinayak, and Mr. Shubham Kumar (Research Scholar, IIT Bombay) were invaluable while performing the experiments. The help given by Mr. Deepak Prajapati, Mr. Meraj Ansari, Mr. Reyaz Ali and Mr. Bhawar Lal during the experiments is deeply appreciated. The authors are thankful for support from Mr. Mahesh Baddula, the guidance from Prof. T. Sundararajan and discussions with Mr. M. S. Srinivasan. The idea of using concentrated solar thermal energy was given to RG by Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, who is given credit for his pan-disciplinary vision.

Funding

Partial financial support from the UKIERI (UK-India Education and Research Initiative) and DST (Department of Science and Technology), Government of India, [Project DST/INT/UK/P-172/2017], and from the UK India Social Entrepreneurship Education Network (UKISEEN) for the ‘UK-India Social Innovation Challenge 2018’ award to the first author are acknowledged. The work was also supported by the Institute of Eminence Research Initiative on Technologies for Low Carbon Lean Construction [Project SB20210809CEMHRD008100].

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Prajapati, R., Gettu, R., Singh, S. et al. A novel beneficiation process for producing high-quality recycled concrete aggregates using concentrated solar energy. Mater Struct 55, 233 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1617/s11527-022-02065-w

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