Materials and Structures

, 51:165 | Cite as

Sustainability-based decision support framework for choosing concrete mixture proportions

  • Ravindra GettuEmail author
  • Radhakrishna G. Pillai
  • Manu Santhanam
  • Anusha S. Basavaraj
  • Sundar Rathnarajan
  • B. S. Dhanya
50 years of Materials and Structures
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. 50 years of Materials and Structures


A framework is proposed, along with two objective indices, for the selection of concrete mixture proportions based on sustainability criteria. The indices combine energy demand and long-term strength as energy intensity, and carbon emissions and durability parameters as A-indices, which represent the apathy toward these essential features of sustainability. The decision support framework is demonstrated by considering a set of 30 concretes with different binders, including ordinary portland cement (OPC), fly ash, slag and limestone calcined clay cement (LC3). In addition to the experimental data on compressive strength, chloride diffusion and carbonation, life cycle assessment has been performed for the concretes considering typical situations in South India. The most sustainable of the concretes studied here, for service life limited by chloride ingress, are those with LC3, OPC replaced by 50% slag, and ternary blends with 20% each of slag and fly ash. In the case of applications where carbonation is critical, the appropriate concretes are those with OPC replaced by 15–30% slag or 15% fly ash, or with ternary blends having 20% slag and 20% Class F fly ash.


Concrete Sustainability CO2 emissions Energy demand Chloride diffusion Carbonation Life cycle assessment Supplementary cementitious materials Service life 



The authors are grateful for partial funding from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation through the project on Low Carbon Cement (Ref. 7F-0857.01.02) with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. The authors are grateful to Sripriya Rengaraju (IIT Madras) for providing the calculations of service life and Yuvaraj Dhandapani (IIT Madras) for fruitful discussions. The tests were performed in the Construction Materials Laboratories of IIT Madras, including the IIT Madras-Lafarge Laboratory for Durability and Long-term Performance of Concrete.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest in this work.


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Copyright information

© RILEM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ravindra Gettu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Radhakrishna G. Pillai
    • 1
  • Manu Santhanam
    • 1
  • Anusha S. Basavaraj
    • 1
  • Sundar Rathnarajan
    • 1
  • B. S. Dhanya
    • 1
  1. 1.Indian Institute of Technology MadrasChennaiIndia

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