Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


ProSeC — Result In Brief

Project ID: 300427
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: United Kingdom

Molasses is the secret to quieter concrete

An EU-funded initiative has developed a cheaper and more environmentally friendly form of self-compacting concrete (SCC).
Molasses is the secret to quieter concrete
Concrete is the most widely used material in the world after water. However, conventional concrete must be compacted, which is a noisy, expensive and energy-consuming process. With SCC, the concrete can simply flow freely into preformed moulds, thereby eliminating the need for compaction.

However, SCC technology is currently underexploited as it costs one and a half times as much as conventional concrete. The higher cost is because SCC requires substantial quantities of fine powder to give the material the necessary cohesion.

The aim of the PROSEC (Production of sustainable self-compacting concrete) project was to increase the economic and environmental benefits of SCC. The team achieved this by examining the potential of using quarry waste fines and novel, cost-effective and environmentally friendly admixtures (chemicals that improve SCC mixes).

Researchers investigated novel chemical admixtures that were both cost effective and environmentally friendly and that would allow production and increased usage of SCC. The materials included cement-like materials such as limestone powder, fly ash and microsilica, and crushed and uncrushed aggregates.

A cost-effective SCC admixture was produced based on molasses, a by-product of the sugar beet industry. It was found that by adding molasses an SCC could be produced, but it lacked strength. Following this initial test, the team tested new superplasticisers made of modified molasses and ionic acid (poly(itaconic acid) (NJ) and poly(acrylic acid)), respectively.

They found that the blend based on molasses and ionic acid improved the workability of SCC. The longer side chains of the superplasticiser (NJ) gave greater fluidity and lower water absorption, plus higher strength and hydration. These admixtures were not expensive and are friendly to the environment.

PROSEC helped to produce efficient, sustainable construction materials in the form of SCC that will have positive economic, environmental and societal impacts. Furthermore, the cost is low as the novel admixture consists largely of waste materials, such as molasses, that would normally be disposed of. Increased uptake of SCC will also reduce noise from construction as concrete will no longer need to be compacted using heavy machinery.

Related information


Molasses, concrete, self-compacting concrete, quarry waste fines, admixtures, ionic acid
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