Evaluation of the durability of concrete made with crushed glass aggregates
Sara de Castro, Jorge de Brito
Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geo-resources, Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
Received 29 May 2012
Received in revised form
25 August 2012
Accepted 16 September 2012
Available online 1 October 2012
Contrasting with previous studies that aimed to evaluate the mechanical properties of concrete made
with glass, this one focuses on their durability performance. For this, water absorption by capillarity and
immersion, carbonation resistance, chloride penetration and shrinkage tests were performed. Mixes
containing 0%, 5%, 10% and 20% of glass aggregates (GA) as replacement of natural aggregates (NA) were
prepared. Also analysed is the inﬂuence of the size of the replaced aggregates (ﬁne and coarse, separately
or simultaneously), in a total of 10 concrete mixes. It was found that the particle size strongly affects the
workability of concrete. Due to the lower density of the glass aggregates, the mixes made with glass had
a lighter fresh density than the reference concrete. Although there is a decrease in the compressive
strength as the replacement rate increases, mixes with GA are totally feasible, even though there are
some differences in performance as a function of the particle size of the GA used to replace the NA. It was
found that in most cases the GA do not signiﬁcantly alter the durability-related properties of concrete. In
a few instances there is a variation from the reference concrete of Æ15%, which is well within the
expectable scatter of the results from experimental research.
Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
The construction industry has been one of the largest and most
active sectors in Europe (Torgal and Jalali, 2007). Since it is
responsible for consuming around 40% of extracted natural
resources (Angulo et al., 2003) solutions must be found to help
minimise the environmental problems generated, because of both
the adverse impact on the environment and the excessive use of
non-renewable natural resources (Matias and de Brito, 2004).
According to Shi and Zheng (2007), the ﬁrst attempt to incor-
porate glass waste in concrete occurred in the 1960s but it failed. It
was found that concrete suffered serious and extensive expansion
that led to cracking and fractures and the consequent loss of
structural safety after some years. This was due to the interaction
between the silica in the aggregates and the alkaline cement paste.
In the last 10 years and due to new environmental regulation,
that taxes the dumping of waste by weight and type, efforts have
been renewed to produce concrete incorporating recycled glass. As
a consequence of the higher costs of dumping, the increase in the
number of new constructions and demolitions and the low cost of
acquiring waste, the viability of concrete/mortars where glass
aggregates (GA) are used to replace either natural aggregates (NA)
or cement is being discussed again. Contrasting with previous
studies (Cazacliu and Ventura, 2010; Ling and Poon, 2012a,b) that
mostly aimed to evaluate the mechanical properties of concrete
made with glass, this one focuses on its durability performance.
After an introductory literature review, 10 concrete mixes con-
taining various contents and sizes of GA were characterised in this
study in terms of water absorption by capillarity and immersion,
carbonation resistance, chloride penetration and shrinkage. The
results are presented and discussed to show the feasibility of
concrete with GA compared with conventional concrete.
Mayer and Baxter (1997, 1998) proved the feasibility of
producing concrete with 100% GA, 80% of type III cement (ASTM),
20% metakaolin and superplasticizer. Kralj (2009) conﬁrmed the
viability of lightweight concrete with expanded GA as well as of
using this concrete as recycled aggregates for new lightweight
concrete with expanded GA.
Su and Chen (2002) conﬁrmed the added value of using glass in
asphalt, given the similarity of its mechanical properties and those
of asphalt without glass. After one year of on-site experience the
authors concluded that glass reﬂects nocturnal light and so allows
better night visibility, enhances trafﬁc safety due to its higher
friction coefﬁcient and improves the permeability conditions.
Arabani (2011) reached the same conclusions with respect to low-
cost glass waste, since it reduced the costs of bituminous pave-
ments and signiﬁcantly improved their dynamic performance. The
author stated that the incorporation of GA up to a limit of 15%
increased the stiffness modulus of the pavements. The United
States of America has a strong tradition of building urban, road and
Corresponding author. Tel.: þ351 218443659; fax: þ351 218443071.
E-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com (J. de Brito).
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Journal of Cleaner Production
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0959-6526/$ e see front matter Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Journal of Cleaner Production 41 (2013) 7e14