A new research project commenced in July at the Steel Research Hub, which sees collaboration between the University of Wollongong (UOW) and the Australian Steel Mill Services (ASMS).
The project is entitled “Transport infrastructure construction using steel furnace slag,” and will aim to develop an alternative composite material for transport infrastructure construction based on the preliminary research work conducted at UOW. The project will be undertaken by a PhD student, who will be responsible for undertaking the technical research aspects of the project, in partnership with UOW based supervisors and industry partners.
ASMS is a joint venture between the Cement Australia Group and the Edward C Levy Co (USA) formed to service the slag-handling contract at BlueScope Port Kembla NSW. ASMS are contracted to collect and treat molten slag from the blast furnace and the steel making processes. They are responsible for the processing and marketing of approximately 1.2 million tonnes of slag per year.
In Australia, basic oxygen furnace slag (BOFS) or the steel furnace slag (SFS) produced from the steel-making process has limited applications compared to ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS). Recently, SFS has been used as aggregate in asphalt pavement mixes; however, the inadequate knowledge and study on the relevant engineering and environmental properties of unbound SFS have been limited due to its potentially expansive properties when hydrated. Research undertaken in this project will explore the potential of various engineering applications of utilising SFS and integrating it with by-products from other industrial processes. For example, SFS can be blended with by-product materials such as coal wash, plastic, cement, lime, or lignosulfonate, and serve as a landfill or a pavement material.
The project team will undertake advanced laboratory-scale testing and numerical modelling to assess the engineering behaviour of the steel slag mixtures to try and optimise the mix designs with additives of other waste streams. They will look to develop an alternate composite material and design framework to utilise steel slag mixtures and additives of other waste streams for transport infrastructure construction.
The project team consists of a multidisciplinary research team from UOW, with project leader Associate Professor Jayan S. Vinod, Dr Pabasara Wanniarachchige and PhD candidate Yeshwant Sunkara. The project will also bring together critical industry and institutional partners Gavin Tory and Benjamin Muscat from the Australian Steel Mill Services (ASMS).
The Steel Research Hub looks forward to the successful highlights and outcomes of this research and wishes the team all the best on the project.