COMMONWEALTH Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, CSIRO, says it has proved that it is technically viable to use slag from steel mills in pavements, low strength concrete and low strength fill.

It says that as the use of slag in such applications becomes commercially viable, this industrial by-product will in many applications replace raw material from quarries.

This will benefit the environment, it says.

Research by the Sustainable Material Engineering Group of the CSIRO has increased the understanding of the nature and properties of slag from electric arc furnaces at Smorgon Steel plant in NSW.

Applications proved by the research include the use of slag instead of natural aggregates as: -

a base course for asphalt and other flexible pavements;

a top wearing course for flexible pavements;

an anti-skid surface for accident-prone intersections and curves;

a sub-base for concrete pavements;

an additive for low strength concrete; and

an additive for controlled low strength fill such as that used as a flowable backfill for trench stabilisation.

Smorgon Steel is progressing the commercial development of the most promising applications of slag.

Australias construction industry uses more than four million tonnes of fly ash and iron/steel slag a year.