Q: What makes the reduction of carbon footprint in dry mix mortars an important subject for IMCD?
Dr. Olaf Hetche:
The cement industry is a primary contributor to carbon dioxide emissions, making it crucial to address not only concrete applications but also dry-mix mortar products.
Over the past 50 years, especially in dry-mix mortar applications, manufacturers have relied primarily on cement with high clinker content for controlling curing and hardening rates. However, they are now seeking ways to minimize clinker usage due to its carbon emissions during both production and the decarbonization process.
Incorporating clinker substitutes into cementitious products is a promising way to reduce emissions
, but there are drawbacks related to material reactivity in dry-mix mortar products. The challenge lies not in the cement, aggregates, or additives alone, but rather in the overall system's performance.
To put it into perspective, think of it like an orchestra: To create a complete artistic experience, you need different instruments, singers, and more. Similarly, in dry-mix mortar products, the choice of additives is crucial in influencing the overall system's performance. We have various additives at our disposal to it.
As a global distributor and formulator of speciality chemicals, we are convinced that the sustainability challenges we face today can only be tackled in collaboration. With our knowledge, portfolio, and laboratory network, we are well-equipped to assist the industry in transitioning to more sustainable cementitious formulations. We place a high priority on identifying the optimal dry-mix mortar composition to accommodate the varying reactivities of reduced-clinker cements in our laboratories.
Q: How do we translate this need in the laboratory?
Cement Types II, III, and IV are well-established standardized products that manufacturers have used for decades. However, they primarily used these products in concrete and precast elements technology, rather than in dry-mix mortar applications.
In our laboratory, we create various cementitious formulations tailored to specific applications where the clinker content is reduced by incorporating supplementary cementitious materials.
In the dry-mix mortar and construction chemicals industry, it is crucial to assess and monitor material properties
in the first three to six hours after mixing with water, as opposed to concrete applications that focus on the system's performance in a matter of days.
At IMCD, we have Ultrasonic Cells
to monitor the curing behaviour of raw materials and measure their dimensional stability over time. This allows us to evaluate new formulations, gain a deeper understanding of how these materials function in dry-mix mortar applications, and make informed recommendations on additives that meet our customers' standards.