Slag Cement Association launches school, marks milestone

The Slag Cement Association has entered 2022 observing 20 years as the leading source of supplementary cementitious materials knowledge through promotion, education and technology development. SCA communicates the performance and environmental benefits of slag cement and blended slag cement with support and oversight of 10 member companies. 

“Slag cement offers many benefits when used in concrete construction such as durability, sustainability, and improved finishability,” says SCA Executive Director Drew Burns. “SCA resources exemplifying these benefits are free to the industry.” Among those resources, he adds, are technical information sheets, webinars and videos, a life cycle assessment calculator, an Environmental Product Declaration for slag cement, and the Slag Cement in Sustainable Concrete Awards Program.

In recognition of its 20th anniversary, SCA is hosting an inaugural Slag Cement School this month at the American Concrete Institute World Headquarters in Farmington Hills, Mich. The event will include educational presentations on slag cement use and benefits in concrete construction. Member company representatives will also demonstrate how to use SCA’s newly updated life cycle assessment calculator for slag cement.

SCA has announced Hilary Chaimov as 2022 Slag Cement Research Project of the Year recipient. The award recognizes her work with continuously-approved concrete mix designs obtained from concrete suppliers in Seattle, and a lifecycle assessment tool to explore supplementary cementitious materials’ impact on the global warming potential (GWP) metrics—reflecting net carbon dioxide emissions per cubic yard—of commercially available concretes in the Pacific Northwest. 

The results she observed are consistent with prior research demonstrating that the use of SCMs in concrete mixes reduces the GWP figure. Chaimov found that 98 percent of continuously-approved mix designs in Seattle meet the GWP benchmark in the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Industry Wide Environmental Product Declaration. Her research provides a framework for officials and concrete practitioners in other major cities to evaluate how sustainable their concrete is and highlight which SCMs are being utilized the most. 

In Seattle, 79 percent of the mix designs utilized slag cement. On average, they have a GWP measurement 30 percent lower than the NRMCA IW EPD for the same compressive strength.

All continuously approved mix designs in Seattle bearing slag cement are below the NRMCA benchmarks. Consequently, if architects or engineers specify such a mix in Seattle, they meet one requirement for a credit within a project’s LEED green building certification.