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Resources, Conservation and Recycling 52 (2007) 234–247

A review on the use of waste glasses in the

production of cement and concrete
Caijun Shi a,b , Keren Zheng a,∗
a College of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Central South University, Changsha, China
b CJS Technology Inc., 2116 Upland Dr., Burlington, Ontario, Canada L7M 2Z2

Received 20 April 2005; accepted 10 January 2007

Available online 7 May 2007


The use of recycled waste glasses in Portland cement and concrete has attracted a lot of interest
worldwide due to the increased disposal costs and environmental concerns. Being amorphous and
containing relatively large quantities of silicon and calcium, glass is, in theory, pozzolanic or even
cementitious in nature when it is finely ground. Thus, it can be used as a cement replacement in
Portland cement concrete. The use of crushed glasses as aggregates for Portland cement concrete
does have some negative effect on properties of the concrete; however, practicle applicability can still
be produced even using 100% crushed glass as aggregates. The main concerns for the use of crushed
glasses as aggregates for Portland cement concrete is the expansion and cracking caused by the glass
aggregates. This paper summarizes the progresses and points out the directions for the proper uses of
waste glasses in Portland cement and concrete.
© 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Cement; Concrete; Waste glasses

1. Introduction

The recycling of waste glass poses a major problem for municipalities worldwide. In
1994, approximately 9.2 million metric tons of postconsumer glass was discharged in the
municipal waste stream in the United States. Approximately 8.1 million metric tons or 80%

∗ Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 731 2655277; fax: +86 731 2655277.
E-mail address: krzheng (K. Zheng).

0921-3449/$ – see front matter © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
C. Shi, K. Zheng / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 52 (2007) 234–247 235

of this waste glass was container glass (Chesner et al., 1997). New York City alone collects
more than 100,000 tons annually and pays Material Recycling Facilities (MRF’s) up to $45
per ton for the disposal of the glass, commingled with metals and plastics (Chesner, 1992).
The use of recycled glass in glass manufacture reduces energy consumption, raw materials
use, and wear and tear on machinery. However, not all used glass can be recycled into new
glass because of impurities, cost or mixed colors. It is reported that the quantity of mixed
waste glass has already outstripped the quantity of color sorted glass. There is a need to
develop markets for mixed waste glass.
Use of recycled materials in construction is among the most attractive options because of
the large quantity, low quality requirements and widespread sites of construction. The main
applications include a partial replacement for aggregate in asphalt concrete, as fine aggregate
in unbond base course, pipe bedding, landfill gas venting systems, gravel backfill for drains.
Recently, many studies have focused on the uses of wastes glassed as aggregates for
cement concrete or as cement replacements (Meyer et al., 1996; Meyer and Baxter, 1998;
Pollery et al., 1998; Bazant et al., 2000; Byars et al., 2004; Topcu and Canbaz, 2004; Shao
et al., 2000; Dyer and Dhir, 2001; Dhir et al., 2004; Shayan and Xu, 2004; Byars et al.,
2004; Shi et al., 2004; Shayan and Xu, 2006). However, being amorphous and containing
relatively large quantities of silicon and calcium, glass is, in theory, pozzolanic or even
cementitious in nature when it is finely ground. Using glass as a cement component in
concrete adds more to its value and allows the energy previously imparted to it during the
glassmaking process to be exploited (Dyer and Dhir, 2001).
The purpose of this paper is to review the chemistry and structural characteristics of
glasses, current research progress on the use of waste glasses in Portland cement and
concrete, and point out the future directions.

2. Chemistry and structural characteristics of glasses

Based on the major compositions, glasses can be classified into the following categories:
vitreous silica, alkali silicates, soda-lime glasses, borosilicate glasses, lead glasses, barium
glasses, and aluminosilicate glasses. Small amounts of additives are often added during
the production of glasses to give glasses different colours or to improve specific properties.
Soda-lime glasses are most widely used to manufacture containers, float and sheets. In waste
glasses, soda lime glasses are over 80% by weight. On a color basis, 63% are clear, 25%
are amber, 10% are green and 2% are blue or other colors. The main composition of these
glasses is the same except small amount of additives used for color purpose. The typical
compositions of different types for different applications are listed in Table 1. Soda-lime
glasses consist of approximately 73% SiO2 , 13–13% Na2 O and 10% CaO. Thus, based on
their chemical composition, soda-lime glasses will be pozzolanic-cementitious materials.
The second major type will be lead glasses, from color TV funnel, neon tubing, electronic
parts, etc. However, a serious concern for using this type of glass in cement and concrete is
the high lead content in the glass. Which can be potentially leached into the environment.
Borosilicate is not commonly used.
When molten materials are fast cooled, a glass will be obtained. Fig. 1 is the X-ray
diffraction patterns of a soda-lime glass. No peaks attributed to any crystallized compound
Table 1
Chemical composition of selected commercial glasses (McLellan and Shand, 1984)

C. Shi, K. Zheng / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 52 (2007) 234–247

Glasses and uses SiO2 Al2 O3 B2 O3 Na2 O K2 O MgO CaO BaO PbO Others
Soda-lime glasses
Containers 66–75 0.7–7 12–16 0.1–3 0.1–5 6–12
Float 73–74 13.5–15 0.2 3.6–3.8 8.7–8.9
Sheet 71–73 0.5–1.5 12–15 1.5–3.5 8–10
Light bulbs 73 1 17 4 5
Tempered ovenware 75 1.5 14 9.5
Chemical apparatus 81 2 13 4
Pharmaceutical 72 6 11 7 1
Tungsten sealing 74 1 15 4
Lead glasses
Color TV funnel 54 2 4 9 23
Neon tubing 63 1 8 6 22
Electronic parts 56 2 4 9 29
Optical dense flint 32 1 2 65
Barium glasses
Colour TV panel 65 2 7 9 2 2 2 2 10% SrO
Optical dense barium crown 36 4 10 41 9% ZnO
Aluminosilicate glasses
Combustion tubes 62 17 5 1 7 8
Fiberglass 64.5 24.5 0.5 10.5
Resistor substrates 57 16 4 7 10 6
C. Shi, K. Zheng / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 52 (2007) 234–247 237

Fig. 1. XRD patterns of a soda-lime glass (Shao et al., 2000).

can be identified except a broad diffraction halo, which is attributed to the glassy phase.
The position of the diffraction halo is related to the lime content and sodium content in the
glass (Diamond, 1983; McCarthy et al., 1988; Van Roode et al., 1987).
The structure of a glass can be described using a two-dimensional framework of SiO4
tetrahedra represented schematically in Fig. 2. According to the network theory proposed
by Zachariasen (1932), the components of a glass can be classified into three groups: (1)
network formers; (2) network modifiers; and (3) intermediates.
Network formers are characterized by small ionic radii, the highest possible ionic valen-
cies, and are surrounded by four oxygen atoms. Together with oxygen atoms, they form a
more or less disordered three-dimensional network through tetrahedra. The bond energies
between these network formers and oxygen atoms are usually higher than 335 KJ/mol. Si
and P are typical network formers in vitreous blast furnace slag. The higher content the
network formers are, the higher is the condensation degree of the glass.

Fig. 2. Structure of quartz, silica glass and Na–Ca silicate glass (Din, 1979).
238 C. Shi, K. Zheng / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 52 (2007) 234–247

Network modifiers have coordination numbers of 6 or 8, and have large ionic radii. The
presence of network modifiers disorders and depolymerizes the network. The bond energies
between the network modifiers and oxygen atoms are usually less than 210 KJ/mol. Na, K,
Ca are typical network modifiers in vitreous blast furnace slag.
Intermediates can act as both the network formers and modifiers. The amphote metals Al
and Mg are typical intermediates in vitreous blast furnace slag. Their coordination number
is 4 when they act as network formers, and 6 as network modifiers. Their bond energies with
oxygen atoms range from 210 to 335 KJ/mol. From the bond energies of network formers
and network modifiers, it can be anticipated that the more the network formers are, the less
reactive the glass is.
There are two types of oxygen—bridging and non-bridging oxygen ions. Bridging oxy-
gen ions link two polyhedra and non-bridging oxygen ions belong to only polyhedron. The
presence of non-bridging oxygen ions cause regions of unbalanced negative charge. Net-
work modifiers, or cations of low positive charge and large size such as Na+ , K+ and Ca2+
may exist in holes between the oxygen polyhedra to balance the excess negative charge of
the non-bridging oxygen ions.

3. Use of waste glasses as cement concrete aggregate

Many studies were conducted in the 1960s to try to use crushed waste glasses as aggre-
gates for cement concrete and found that all concretes with glass aggregates cracked (Pike
et al., 1960; Scmidt and Saia, 1963; Phillips et al., 1972; Johnston, 1974). In the past 10
years, the use of glass as cement concrete aggregates has again come under investigation
due to high disposal costs for waste glasses and environmental regulations (Meyer et al.,
1996; Meyer and Baxter, 1998; Pollery et al., 1998; Bazant et al., 2000; Byars et al., 2004;
Topcu and Canbaz, 2004; Chen et al., 2006). Meyer and Baxter (1997, 1998) conducted very
extensive laboratory studies on the use of crushed glasses as aggregate. They found that a
practically feasible concrete mixture could be produced by using 100% crushed glasses as
aggregates (25% #8 clear glasses, 25% #16 amber glasses, 25% #30 amber glass, 15% #50
amber glasses and 10% #100 amber glasses), 80% ASTM Type III Portland cement and
20% metakaolin as cementutious materials and proper amount of superplasticizer. Chen et
al. (2006) investigated the properties of concretes containing various waste E-glass parti-
cle contents. Waste E-glass particles were obtained from electronic grade glass yarn scrap
by grinding to small particle size. The size distribution of cylindrical glass particle was
from 38 to 300 ␮m and about 40% of E-glass particle was less than 150 ␮m. Based on
the properties of hardened concrete, optimum E-glass content was found to be 40–50%
by mass.

3.1. Effect of glass aggregate on properties of mortar and concrete

Corinaldesi et al. (2005) investigated that mechanical properties and microstructures of

mortars with 30–70% replacement of fine sand with ground glasses. It was noticed that
no deleterious effect could be detected at a macroscopic level due to the reaction between
cement paste and ground waste glass with particle size up to 100 ␮m. On the contrary, a
C. Shi, K. Zheng / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 52 (2007) 234–247 239

strong improvement of the mortar mechanical performance was detected, due to the positive
contribution of the waste glass to the micro-structural properties.
The use of waste glasses as aggregates did not have a marked effect on the workability
of concrete, but decreased the slump, air content and fresh unit weight (Topcu and Canbaz,
2004; Chen et al., 2006). Concrete with glass aggregates would require a higher content of
water than conventional aggregates to reach the same workability (Pollery et al., 1998). The
compressive, flexural and indirect tensile strengths as well as Schmidt hardness decrease
in proportion to an increase in waste glass aggregates. The strength noticeably decreased
when the glass content was more than 20% (Topcu and Canbaz, 2004).
Terro (2006) investigated the effect of replacement of fine and coarse aggregates with
recycled glass on the fresh and hardened properties of Portland cement concrete at ambient
and elevated temperatures. The results indicated that the compressive strength of concrete
made with recycled glasses decreases up to 20% of its original value with increasing temper-
atures up to 700 ◦ C. In general, concretes made with 10% aggregates replacement with the
effect of replacement of fine and coarse aggregates with recycled glass on fresh and hard-
ened properties of Portland cement concrete at ambient and elevated temperatures, coarse
waste glass and combination of fine and coarse waste glass had better properties in the fresh
and hardened states at ambient and high temperatures than those with larger replacement.
Concretes made with FWG aggregates had higher compressive strengths than those made
with coarse waste glass and combination of fine and coarse waste glass at ambient and
elevated temperatures.
Freezing-thawing tests following ASTM C666 indicate that concrete with glass aggre-
gates exhibited a lightly poorer durability index than the control conventional concrete
(Pollery et al., 1998). However, the main concern for the use of waste glasses as con-
crete as aggregates is expansion and cracking as discussed in detail in the following

3.2. Expansion of mortars and concretes containing glass aggregates

The expansion and cracking of concrete containing glass aggregate has been known for
decades. Work with synthetic glasses has shown that siliceous glasses of sodium and potas-
sium were very expansive even in mortars made with high alumina cement and gypsum
plaster of very low alkali content (Figg, 1981). The expansion bars are dependent on the
color of the glass. For instance, clear soda-lime glass was most reactive, followed by amber
glass. Green glass caused more expansion (Meyer et al., 1996). Bazant et al. (1998, 2000)
tried to modeled the volume expansion and strength of concretes containing different waste
glass particles. Actually, the use of low alkali Portland cement does not reduce the expan-
sion of concrete made with crushed mixed waste glass (Meyer et al., 1996). On the other
hand, similar glasses containing lithium and lead were not expansive under similar testing
conditions (Pike et al., 1960).
The glass of different colors does affect the expansion of concrete. The studies at the
Columbia University in US (Meyer and Baxter, 1997; Jin et al., 2000) indicated that the
Cr2 O3 in green glass could inhibit the expansion of concrete containing glass aggregate.
However, the study at the University of Sheffield in UK (Zhu and Byars, 2004) found that
there was no difference in green, amber and flint glasses.
240 C. Shi, K. Zheng / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 52 (2007) 234–247

Of course, the size of glass aggregate also affects the expansion rate and value. However,
the study at the Columbia University (Meyer and Baxter, 1997; Jin et al., 2000) also got
different results from those obtained by the University of Sheffield (Zhu and Byars, 2004).
The former found that the pessimum sizes for clear (flint) soda-lime glass, Pyrex glass and
fused silica appear to be 1.18 mm, 150 ␮m and 75 ␮m respectively; while the latter inves-
tigated different size ranges of glass aggregate up to 12 mm and found that the expansion
increased with the increase of glass aggregate size.
Different attempts have been made to reduce or eliminate the expansion of mortars or
concrete containing glass aggregates. If there are pores to permit the expansive reaction
products to permeate into these pores or to relieve the expansive pressure, it will reduce or
eliminate the expansion. Laboratory results indicated that the introduction of air entrainment
or use of porous lightweight aggregate is an effective method to reduce or eliminate the
expansion. Meyer and Baxter (1998) found that the introduction of air-entraining agent
reduce the expansion by about 50%. In another study, it was found that when the volume
of expanded shale is more than 60% of the total aggregate volume, the expansion of the
specimens is greatly reduced and far below the deleterious expansion limit (Shi et al.,
2005). Actually, it was found that the specimens do not expand at all when porous glass is
used as concrete aggregates (Ducman et al., 2002). It is well known that porous aggregate
can mitigate expansion resulted from alkali–aggregate reactions (Collins and Bareham,
Supplementary cementing materials such as ground blast furnace slag, fly ash, silica
fume and metakaolin are often used to reduce or eliminate the alkali–aggregate reactions.
Laboratory studies (Meyer and Baxter, 1997; Jin et al., 2000; Zhu and Byars, 2004) have
indicated that the use of these materials can also reduce the expansion of concrete containing
glass aggregates. Of course, the effectiveness will be dependent upon the chemical and
physical characteristics the material. Metakaolin has been proven the most effective material
(Meyer and Baxter, 1997; Jin et al., 2000; Zhu and Byars, 2004).

3.3. Expansion mechanisms of concrete containing glass aggregates

Some researches have attempted to use traditional alkali–silica reaction theories to

explain the expansion of cement concrete containing mixed waste glasses as aggregates.
The expansion phenomena of cement concrete containing mixed waste glasses as aggre-
gates from the published works are different from those from traditional alkali–silica
reaction. Figg (1981) noticed some differences between conventional alkali–silica reac-
tion expansion and expansion caused by glass aggregate. The normal mode of generation
of swelling pressure within the concrete appears to be due to the alternation and soft-
ening of the aggregate grains by inward diffusion of alkali metals and hydroxyl ions
followed by imbibition of water with the development of considerable osmotic pressure
and eventual tensile failure and cracking of the surrounding matrix. Reaction rims on the
periphery of aggregate grains are commonly observed with the residues of altered aggre-
gate particles and copius amounts of isotropic alkali silicate gel and gel secondary reaction
It is well known that amorphous silica can be corroded easily when the pH of the envi-
ronment is greater than 12. The pH of Ca(OH)2 saturated solution is around 12.4 at 20 ◦ C.
C. Shi, K. Zheng / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 52 (2007) 234–247 241

Thus, the pH of low alkali Portland cement is even high enough to corrode soda lime glass.
It is necessary to control the pH of the concrete under 12 in order to avoid deleterious
expansion and cracking of the concrete containing large glass particles.

4. Use of waste glasses as raw materials for cement production

According to the chemical composition of waste glasses as shown in Table 1, glasses

consist mainly of SiO2 and should be suitable as the raw materials for cement production.
The main concern will be how the alkalis in the glasses will affect the minerals in the
cement clinker and how much alkali will be left in the cement clinker. Recently, two studies
have reported the laboratory studies and trial production for the use of waste glasses as raw
siliceous materials for the production of Portland cement (Chen et al., 2002; Xie and Xi,
Chen et al. (2002) characterized 32 types of glass and noticed that the chemical com-
position of glasses did not vary significantly with its color or origin but depended on its
application. The general composition of glass meets the requirement of the raw materials
for cement production. The alkali content (Na2 O) of the glass bottles mainly found in Hong
Kong waste glasses, a major concern for cement production varies from 10 to 19% with
an average around 15%. Two plant trials were conducted at a load of one t/h for 24 h and
1.77 t/h for 56 h. The exhaust from the stack does not show significant changes in the con-
centration of pollutants. They also found that the alkaline content showed a slight increase
but still within three times the standard deviation obtained from the statistical data of the
past year. The detailed analysis of the quality of the cement product shows that there is not
any significant impact of glass for the feeding rate tested. No adverse effect on the rotary
kiln plant operation was experienced during feeding and processing of glass.
However, some very interesting phenomena were observed in another study (Xie and
Xi, 2002). It was found that the addition of glass into cement raw mix (1) results in the
formation of more liquid phase between 950 and 1250 ◦ C; (2) decreases C3 S content in
the clinker; and (3) results in the formation of NC8 A3 , which results in flash setting due
to the high alkali content and the formation of compound 2CaSO4 ·K2 SO4 . Approximately
40% Na2 O and 80% of K2 O evaporate when the burning temperature reaches 1350 ◦ C, no
further change happens above that temperature. Thus, most of the Na2 O in soda-lime glass
will stay in the clinker if glass is used as a raw material for cement production.

5. Use of waste glass powder as cement replacements

According to ASTM C618 and the chemical composition requirement, soda-lime glass
may be classified as Class N natural pozzolan if Na2 O content in these glass powders is not
a concern. Recently, several studies have investigated the pozzolanic property of ground
glass powders and the use of ground glass as a cement replacement in concrete (Archibald
et al., 1995; Shao et al., 2000; Dyer and Dhir, 2001; Shayan and Xu, 2004; Byars et al.,
2004; Shi et al., 2004, 2005; Shayan and Xu, 2006). The following sections summarize the
main findings by these researches.
242 C. Shi, K. Zheng / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 52 (2007) 234–247

Fig. 3. Rate of heat evolution curves of cement pastes containing green GGC (Dyer and Dhir, 2001).

5.1. Hydration of Portland glass cement

Fig. 3 shows the heat evolution curves of cement pastes containing green GGC (Dyer
and Dhir, 2001). The maximum rate of heat evolution drops as the Portland cement content
is reduced, which is to be expected because any pozzolanic reaction the glass undergoes
will occur at later stages and evolve only minor quantities of heat. It is apparent that the
presence of glass cullet has no influence on the normal early PC hydration reactions.
The measurement of free Ca(OH)2 in hardened cement pastes indicated that the presence
of GGC has little influence on the kinetics of PC hydration. However, the production of
portlandite is enhanced relative to the control, and calcium silicate hydrate (CSH) levels
were found to be higher in the pastes containing glass.

5.2. Pozzolanic reactivity of glass powders

Shao et al. (2000) measured strength of the lime–glass mixtures as the pozzolanic index
for three glass powders: 150-␮m glass: ground glass having particles passing a #100 sieve
(150 ␮m) and retained on a #200 sieve (75 ␮m); 75-␮m glass: ground glass having particles
passing a #200 sieve (75 ␮m) and retained on a #400 sieve (38 ␮m); and 38-␮m glass:
ground glass having particles passing a #400 sieve (38 ␮m). The strength results indicated
that the 38 ␮m glass satisfied the minimum strength requirement at 7-day test, and attained
an increase in strength after additional 21 days of curing in water. The strength of the mixture
with 150 ␮m glass was far below the limit because the size of the glass was too coarse to
serve as a pozzolan. The 75-mm glass performed marginally. Its 7-day strength was slightly
lower than the threshold value, while its additional 21-day curing in water enhanced the
strength to a satisfactory level.
Shi et al. (2005) evaluated the pozzolanic activity index of four waste glass powders
from a glass beads manufacturer: GP-fine from the screening of crushed glasses, GP-dust
from a dust collector for the screening of crushed glasses, and the other two, GP-4000 and
GP-6000, from the grinding of the powder and from the dust collector. GP-fine is very coarse
C. Shi, K. Zheng / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 52 (2007) 234–247 243

and consists particles from 40 to 700 ␮m. The GP-dust is finer than GP-fine, but still much
coarser than Portland cement. Portland cement contains about 40% of particles smaller than
10 ␮m, while the dust contains only about 20% particles smaller than 10 ␮m. The particle
size distribution of the ground glass powder GP-4000 is almost the same as Portland cement
in the range of particles smaller than 30 ␮m. GP-4000 shows a coarser distribution than the
Portland cement in the portion of the particles larger than 30 um. One obvious factor is
that GP-4000 still contains some particles larger than 100 ␮m, while Portland cement does
not. GP-6000 has finer particle size distribution than GP-4000 as expected. Compared with
Portland cement, GP-6000 shows a finer particle size distribution in the portion of particles
smaller than 50 ␮m, but a slightly higher portion of particles larger than 60 ␮m than Portland
cement. GP fine is too coarse for Blaine fineness measurement, while the Blaine finenesses
of the GP-dust, GP-4000 and GP-6000 are 264, 467 and 582 m2 /kg respectively.
The Portland cement has a Blaine fineness of 383 m2 /kg, while GP-4000 has a Blaine
fineness of 467 m2 /kg. The difference in Blaine fineness and particle size distribution may
be attributed to the particles shape rather than the size. Since glass is more brittle than
Portland cement clinker and ground glass contains more elongated irregular particles than
Portland cement does. This is probably why GP-4000 shows much higher Blaine fineness
than Portland cement.
The strength activity index of these glass powders and coal fly ash at 23 ◦ C are plotted
in Fig. 4. It can be seen that GP-fines showed the lowest pozzolanic strength activity index
among the materials tested due to its coarse particles. Its pozzolanic strength activity index
were around 70–74% at 7 and 28 days, which are slightly lower than the minimum of 75%
as specified in ASTM C618 for pozzolanic materials. Although the particle size of GP-dust
is also much coarser than the particle size of the fly ash, the pozzolanic strength activity
index of the GP-dust was only slightly lower at 1–7 days, but higher at 28 days than the
fly ash. It had a pozzolanic strength activity index of 82% at 7 days and 92% at 28 days.
From strength aspect, it can be regarded as a good pozzolanic material. The only concern

Fig. 4. Strength activity index of glass powders and fly ash at 23 ◦ C (Shi et al., 2005).
244 C. Shi, K. Zheng / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 52 (2007) 234–247

for using this material as a cement replacement in concrete is the potential alkali–aggregate
reaction when the alkali reactive aggregate is used.
Although GP-6000 is finer than GP-4000, there is only marginal difference in pozzolanic
strength activity index between them. On the other hand, GP-4000 and GP-6000 had poz-
zolanic strength activity index similar to or slightly higher than that of the fly ash from 1 to 7
days. At 28 days, the pozzolanic strength activity index of GP-4000 and GP-6000 went up to
around 110%, which is much higher than that of the fly ash (85%). This indicates that these
two glass powders have very high pozzolanic reactivity. An increase in curing temperature
will significantly accelerate the pozzolanic strength activity index of glass powders.
In another study (Nishikawa et al., 1995), it was found that the strength of cement paste
at 90 days increased with the glass content increase up to 25%. The Blaine fineness of
the glass powder is about 400 m2 /kg, but no chemical analysis of the glass powder was
given. Dyer and Dhir (2001) measured the compressive strength development of cement
pastes containing white, green, and amber cullet. There is clearly some difference in the
strength development of mortars containing different-colored finely ground glass cullets:
white and green produce a slight increase in 28-day compressive strengths relative to the
glass-free control at replacement levels of around 10%, whereas amber finely ground glass
cullet merely achieves similar strengths to the control. The rate of strength gain in mortars
containing finely ground glass cullet is noticeably higher between 7 and 28 days compared to
the control. This behavior implies that a pozzolanic reaction is occurring. Chen et al. (2006)
also found that waste E-glass can be used in concrete as cementitious material as well as inert
filler, which depending upon the particle size, and the dividing size appears to be 75 ␮m.

5.3. Alkali–aggregate reaction

Several studies have conformed that glass particles will not generate deleterious expan-
sion themselves once they are smaller than 300 ␮m (Meyer and Baxter, 1997; Shi et al.,
2004). However, glass powder has a very high content of alkalis, and the alkalis in glass
powders can be leached out, resulting in alkali–aggregate reaction (AAR) expansion when
the aggregate is alkali-reactive. Shi et al. (2004) investigated the expansion of alkali–silica
reaction expansion of mortar bars containing alkali-reactive siliceous limestone sand from
Spratt Quarry in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and ground container glass powder using ASTM
C1260. A typical commercial ASTM Type I Portland cement with total equivalent alkali
content (Na2 O + 0.658 K2 O) of 0.65% was used. In other batches of the tests, additional
NaOH was added into the cement to have total equivalent alkali content (Na2 Oe ) of 0.90 as
specified by Canadian Standard Association Specification CSA A23.2-25A.
Fig. 5 shows the expansions of mortar bars containing reactive Spratt sand and different
amounts of GP-4000. It is very obvious that the expansion of mortar bar decreases as the
glass replacement level increases. One possible explanation is that the highly reactive glass
powder would react with lime and form a calcium silicate hydrate (C–S–H) with a low C/S
ratio, which retains the alkalis in the C–S–H. With respect to this reactive aggregate, it seems
that it requires 50% replacement of cement with the glass powder to reduce the expansion
below 0.1% as specified in ASTM C1260 and CSA 23.2-25A. The addition of NaOH to the
cement to have a total equivalent alkali content of 0.9, did not show a significant effect on
AAR expansions.
C. Shi, K. Zheng / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 52 (2007) 234–247 245

Fig. 5. Effect of glass powder replacement levels on AAR expansion of mortar Bars (Shi et al., 2004).

6. Environmental and economic benefits

The reuse of waste glasses in cement and concrete production has many benefits:
• Cuts waste disposal costs, which are likely to rise due to landfill tax.
• Conserves the environment by saving large amount of primary raw materials each year.
• Extends the life of our landfill sites, helping to conserve the countryside.
• Saves a significant amount of energy and reduces the amount of CO2 , NOx, and other
air pollutants emitted from the manufacturer cement clinker when ground glass powder
used as a cement replacement.
• Increases public awareness of the problem of waste and benefits of recycling.
• Offers many alternative uses for recycled glass based products, without compromising
on either cost or quality.
The economic benefits from the reuse of recycled waste glasses in cement and concrete
production can also be very significant. In US, the tipping fee for landfill usually ranges
from $40 to 100/ton of waste, while the concrete aggregates cost about $5–15/ton and
supplementary cementing materials cost about $30–80/ton. The grinding cost may range
from $15 to 30/ton depending on the production scale.

7. Summary

This paper has reviewed the three possible uses of waste glasses in production of cement
and concrete, it can be summarized as follows:
• The use of waste glasses as concrete aggregates has a slight negative effect on the work-
ability, strength and freezing-thawing resistance of cement concrete. However, the main
concern is expansion and cracking of the concrete containing glass aggregates. It needs
to control the pH of the system below 12 in order to prevent potential corrosion of glass
aggregates and expansion of the concrete, which may be achieved by the replacement of
Portland cement with pozzzolanic materials such as fly ash, silica fume and metakaoline.
246 C. Shi, K. Zheng / Resources, Conservation and Recycling 52 (2007) 234–247

• Waste glasses cans be used as raw materials for cement production as siliceous sources.
However, it will increase the liquid content in the clinker, results in the formation of
some Na-compounds and increase in the alkali content in the cement. The effect will be
dependent on the amount of waste glass used. If the percentage of waste glass used in
the raw materials is low, the effects can be very minimal.
• Ground glass powders exhibit very good pozzolanic reactivity and can be used as
cement replacement. As expected, its pozzolanic reactivity increases as its finenesses
increase. Alkalis in the glass powder can cause alkali–aggregate reaction and expansion
if aggregates are alkali-reactive. Results from ASTM C 1260 testing indicate that the
alkali–aggregate reaction expansion decreases as glass replacement increases, and will
be under the deleterious limit if the glass replacement is 50% or more. The combined use
of other supplementary cementing materials such as coal fly ash, ground blast furnace slag
and metakaolin can also decrease the expansion from alkali–aggregate reaction. Lithium
salt can be a very effective additive to prevent the alkali–aggregate reaction expansion of
concrete containing glass powders.
• The environmental and economic benefits from the reuse of recycled waste glasses in
cement and concrete production can also be very significant depending on the end uses
and production scale.


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