Assessing the sustainability potential of alkali-activated concrete from electric arc furnace slag using the ECO2 framework

Hisham Hafez*, Dany Kassim, Rawaz Kurda, Rui Vasco Silva, Jorge de Brito

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Alkali-activated materials are regarded as a potential sustainable building material with industrial by-products fully replacing ordinary Portland cement. Five million tonnes of electric arc furnace slag are produced annually mostly to be recycled as low value aggregates in several construction applications. This study examined the possibility of valorising the understudied slag as a precursor in alkali-activated concrete. The material, supplied free and available in abundance as a waste, presents a significant potential to produce sustainable concrete. Hence, the mechanical and durability properties of electric arc furnace slag-based alkali-activated concrete were examined. After that, using a sustainability assessment framework called ECO2, the combined whole-life cycle assessment of the environmental and economic impact was calculated for several mixes that combined electric arc furnace slag and fly ash as precursors. The increasing amount of slag content led to a decline in mechanical performance, though there was an equivalent durability-related performance; mixes with electric arc furnace slag showed equivalent slump and resistance to carbonation, and enhanced resistance to chloride ion penetration. Furthermore, slag-based concrete exhibited significant improvement in the overall ECO2 sustainability score due to its minimal environmental and economic impact.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122559
Number of pages12
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Early online date18 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2021


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