Using recycled aggregate concrete at a precast-concrete plant: A multi-criteria company-oriented feasibility study

Víctor Revilla-Cuesta, Francisco Fiol, Priyadharshini Perumal, Vanesa Ortega-López, Juan M. Manso

Numerous test results at laboratory scale confirm the utility of Recycled Aggregate (RA) for the development of concrete that demonstrates durability and adequate in-fresh and mechanical behavior. However, feasibility evaluations of the use of RA in real industrial applications are necessary, before any large-scale industrial application of these products can begin. In this research, the feasibility of producing precast-concrete components containing large amounts of coarse RA at a precast-concrete plant is analyzed. Two Self-Compacting Concretes (SCC) were produced incorporating 0% and 100% coarse RA, respectively, at both laboratory scale (0.08 m3) and industrial scale (2 m3). Work took place at the industrial-scale facilities of a precast-concrete company that was collaborating in this study. Flowability and mechanical behavior were maintained as concrete production volumes increased, and concrete strength even increased after adding coarse RA, due to a careful mix design. However, the durability performance worsened by around 20% when produced at industrial scale, being this worsening higher whether coarse RA was used. A Multi-Criteria Decision-Making (MCDM) analysis, in which the criteria of the precast-concrete company defined the relative importance of each concrete property, showed the feasibility of manufacturing precast-SCC components containing coarse RA for interior usage, whose fundamental requirement is adequate mechanical strength. The results of the MCDM analysis also underlined the lower cost of coarse RA, making its use in SCC components cast with large concrete volumes advisable. Overall, the addition of coarse RA in the precast-concrete industry is recommended in the interests of a greener construction sector.

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