Cementing success: Sustainable concrete at MSU wins recognitions

Contact: Leah Barbour

The new north end zone of Mississippi State's Davis Wade Stadium was built with a sustainable combination of cement developed by university-affiliated civil engineers.
The new north end zone of Mississippi State's Davis Wade Stadium was built with a sustainable combination of cement developed by university-affiliated civil engineers.
Photo by: Russ Houston

STARKVILLE, Miss.--An engineering team affiliated with Mississippi State is receiving multiple national and international recognitions for an innovative concept.

First, their idea to use more sustainable cement and recyclable by-products in developing a concrete used in the recent expansion and renovation of Davis Wade Stadium was honored by World of Concrete, one of the largest international construction trade exhibitions.

The two-year university project to completely enclose the 100-year-old football stadium's north end was runner-up for WOC's 2015 Triad Award for innovation, sustainability and leadership.

In addition, the two-year construction effort:

--Received the Slag Cement Association's 2014 Project of the Year designation in the sustainability category. This honor was announced by the American Concrete Institute, a leading concrete organization.

--Was published in the Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, a peer-reviewed research venue of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The article may be read at http://cedb.asce.org/cgi/WWWdisplay.cgi?331165.

The sustainable concrete mixtures were largely designed by a group of four individuals including MSU associate professor Isaac L. Howard and doctoral student Jameson D. "Jay" Shannon.

Howard joined the civil and environmental engineering department in 2006, the same year he received a doctoral degree from the University of Arkansas. He now holds the MSU civil and environmental engineering department's Materials and Construction Industries Chair and directs its Construction Materials Research Center.

A Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, resident, Shannon received an MSU bachelor's degree, cum laude, in 2011 and a master's the following year. He is currently a doctoral candidate at MSU.

University alumnus Mark Stovall of MMC Materials Inc. supplied concrete for the stadium expansion and renovation, while fellow alumnus Tim Cost of Holcim (U.S.), Inc., supplied the cement needed to produce the concrete.

Stovall is a seasoned quality control expert at MMC Materials Inc.; Cost is a senior technical service engineer with Holcim (U.S.) Inc.

According to these four collaborators, the sustainable cement combination takes less energy to produce and has lower associated greenhouse gas emissions than conventional cementitious systems. Systems containing only ordinary portland cement must be created with extreme heat generated from fossil fuels. The key element of the work performed by the team was use of Portland-limestone cement, or PLC, in conjunction with 50 percent replacement of cement with by-product fly ash and slag cement.

"PLC interacts with fly ash and slag cement extremely well," Howard explained. "Combining PLC with these byproducts is what makes concrete in the Davis Wade Stadium project more sustainable than concrete made almost any other way."

Beyond a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, the new process lessens construction costs, energy demands and raw materials requirements, he said. The early-age strength gain of concrete made with the sustainable cement also is superior to that with OPC and the set time is reduced by as much as an hour, he added.

"Other designers and contractors (now) can say, 'This was successful in Davis Wade; why not use it in house slabs or commercial buildings or bridges?' Howard observed. "If you have a glaring example of success, it can translate outside of the community."

For more information about the MSU project, see www.cee.msstate.edu/cmrc/gallery.

MSU, Mississippi's flagship research university, is online at www.msstate.edu, meridian.msstate.edu, facebook.com/msstate, instagram.com/msstate, pinterest.com/msstate and twitter.com/msstate.

Thursday, May 21, 2015 - 12:00 am