Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Road Research

NRRA Rigid Team

Use of Alternative Pozzolanic Materials Towards Reducing Cement Content in Concrete Pavements

Status: In development


In pozzolanic substitution, replacement of cement in concrete translates to a significant reduction of carbon footprint. This substitution must be done without compromising the strength and durability of the concrete. If the simple use of higher percentages of limestone substitution do not compromise durability, it defines a sustainable practice. Moreover, if natural pozzolanic materials result in long term mechanical strength and durability, they too contribute toward increased sustainability.

Due to the renewed interest seen nowadays in using natural and recycled materials-based pozzolans as a replacement for Portland cement, this project seeks to investigate the sustainability and resiliency of such a practice within pavements. Although much research has gone into pozzolanic substitution, there is a lack in the knowledge base regarding the sustainable limits in the use or inclusion of limestone in cementitious blends. Additionally, there is a missing link between limestone content and actual influence of the porosity of limestone that may have influence on absorption and possible desorption within the matrix.

Member states are seeking increased confidence in the usage of ternary or quaternary blends. One aspect of this study will be to provide the limits for limestone inclusion, which will also serve as guidance to the industry and agencies. The other interest is understanding the feasibility of using alternative natural pozzolans and substandard fly-ash materials (i.e. reclaimed ash). Implementation would involve dissemination of the information in the form of a tech brief and final report posted on the NRRA Team webpage(s), as well as presentations at NRRA and other pavement related conferences.

Data will be collected on an estimated six to eight 250-foot-long pavement test sections and provided to the research team by MnROAD staff. This data will include (but not be limited to) results from routine FWD testing, seasonal ride quality measurements, distress surveys, load testing of embedded dynamic strain sensors, faultmeter and MIRA measurements, joint opening measurements (automated and manually collected), measurement of warping and curling, and extracted cores.

The goal of this research proposal is to investigate the factors impacting production and placement of concrete pavement utilizing alternative pozzolanic materials, as well as determine the field performance when exposed to heavy traffic loading and extreme climatic conditions.

The following topics should be addressed with this investigation:

  1. Determine what characteristics need to be considered when selecting these materials.
  2. What factors need to be considered when designing concrete mixtures containing these materials.
  3. Develop guidelines for successfully producing and placing these types of concrete in the field.
  4. Determine what testing needs to be performed during paving and acceptance after hardening.
  5. Impact of alternative pozzolanic materials on structural pavement performance and durability.

Project team

Email the Project Team
Technical Liaison: Maria Masten, MnDOT, maria.masten@state.mn.us
Project Technical Advisory Panel (TAP): Contact us to join this TAP

  • Fatih Bektas, Minnesota State University-Mankato
  • Dan Gancarz, Illinois Tollway
  • Alf Gardiner, Braun Intertec
  • Lieska Halsey, Nebraska DOT
  • Rita Lederle, University of St. Thomas
  • Maria Masten, MnDOT (TL)
  • Somayeh Nassiri, Washington State University
  • Xijun Shi, Texas State University
  • Jake Sumeraj, Illinois Tollway
  • Anthony Torres, Texas State University
  • Hao Yin, Horizon Engineering Consulting

Related materials