Optimization of the concrete composition for paving stone production

Mix optimization and Improvement of efficiency

Paving stones are produced in industrial plants through a quick and energy-intensive process: from the mixer, the dry concrete is delivered by material hopper or conveyor to the production plant, where it is then fed into moulds, compacted through massive vibration and compression, released from the molds within seconds, and then cured to form the final elements. Although aesthetics is a major selling factor for paving stones, the fulfillment of the requirements set by the European Standard EN1338 is paramount for the quality and durability of the elements; splitting tensile strength represents a key parameter of performance and all producers are committed to achieve the required minimum value of 3.6 MPa in the most efficient way. Optimal functioning of the production plant and exploitation of the raw materials in the most economic way, are the two main drivers for the achievement of economic efficiency in a plant. The optimization of the concrete mix design, besides cost saving, may also have the following implications: - impact on the sustainability, through modification of the CO2 balance; - reduction of the risk of efflorescence: this is one of the most critical factors for the end user and is largely influenced not only by external & uncontrollable aspects such as the prevailing weather conditions, but also by the chemical composition of the concrete.

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