The growing industrial revolution and rural development all over the world are giving rise to several serious environmental problems such as rise in CO2 emissions, generation of fine dust, and increased use of cooling energy. To solve these issues, various researches have been conducted in order to develop ecofriendly construction materials. However, most of researches were based on carbon abatement type, waste resource utilization, and environment friendly concrete technology. These technologies were able to solve the problem of CO2 reduction, but it was difficult to take alternative methods to heat island phenomenon. Also, these methods consisted of increased use of cooling energy due to the growing atmospheric temperature.
History of construction materials
In the very beginning, the construction materials sector was dependent on a varied range of materials suitable for local situations and specific applications. Future, in 20th century, the cement got replaced with Portland cement (PC). This was the period when all the other construction materials were kept aside and the industry started using Portland cement (PC) for all construction projects.
However, with the advent of 21st century, a need for environmental sustainability started building in the construction industry which resulted in a condition where the entire construction field started showing substantial interest in environmentally friendly construction materials—that grabbed everyone’s attention. This resulted in re-invention of all the methods and practices that were broadly understood and used in the past. By re-inventing the old traditions, the people in the construction field realized the use of MgO-based cements.
Use of magnesium-based cement for environment friendly construction
In the past, the cement that grabbed the major share of the construction market was the Portland cement. However, since the past few years, a substantial growth was observed in the acceptance and production of MgO-based cement, this was mainly due to growing awareness about the need to use environment friendly building products.
MgO requires lower temperatures for its production as compared to the conversion of CaCO3 to PC and the total energy saved during this process have made many companies to adopt MgO-based cement. Moreover, the property of MgO to absorb CO2 from the air which results in the formation of a series of carbonates and hydroxycarbonates, makes it the right choice as a “carbon-neutral” cement. Also, MgO is capable of absorbing approximately the amount of CO2 that was released at the time of its manufacturing process, during its complete lifecycle. Hence, the awareness about both academic and commercial applications of MgO-based cements are rising day-by-day because of these properties of MgO.
Magnesium-based cements use MgO as a base of their formation rather than CaO that comprises nearly 60% of the elemental composition of PC. Magnesium-based cement has a long history—they were used in the historic times, dating back to prehistoric epochs in India, China, and Europe, and other countries. India has several famous monuments built with magnesia-based cements, whereas the Great Wall of China which is still standing upright is also constructed using magnesium-based cements. This cement requires a little quantity of energy for its formation and releases lesser CO2 as compared to Portland cement.
Magnesium phosphate cement
One of the types of magnesium-based cement that is being broadly used nowadays are Magnesium Phosphate cements. Magnesium phosphate cement (MPC) is a water-hardening inorganic cementitious material. The phosphates that are used along with the magnesium are obtained from fermented plants or animal wastes. They are formed with the help of an acid–base reaction between MgO and a soluble acid phosphate, and are famous as a quick patch repair material. Due to the quick patch repair property of this cement, it allows quick setting and can be used in cold environments where using other type of cements is a bit challenging.
Furthermore, Magnesium Phosphate cements were invented to fulfill various needs such as improving the water resistance of Sorel cements, manufacturing of a highly strong concrete, and magnesia-based refractory concrete. Also, this cement has better-quality resistance to water and freeze, and improved dimensional stability than Sorel cements. Hence, it is clear that with the growing economy and increased developments all across the world, the demand for Magnesium Phosphate cement will grow day-by-day and will thrust the growth of Magnesium Phosphate industry in the near future.