Enhancing carbonation and thermal insulation of reactive magnesium oxide cement (RMC)-based 3D printable pastes with cenospheres

Xiangyu Wang, Padmaja Krishnan, Kemal Celik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reactive magnesium oxide cement (RMC) has been proposed as a sustainable alternative to ordinary Portland cement (OPC) due to its lower production temperature and ability to permanently sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) through carbonation. However, mixtures with only RMC can have significantly reduced CO2 absorption capacity due to limited CO2 diffusion, thereby compromising the performance of RMCs. This paper demonstrates the adoption of cenospheres, an industrial waste, as a lightweight filler in RMC-based 3D printable composites to enhance carbonation and improve thermal insulation. This work investigates the effect of incorporating different dosages of cenospheres on the rheological properties, compressive strength, thermal conductivity, and microstructural development of the RMC mixtures using X-ray diffraction (XRD), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The study reveals that substituting 30 % of RMC with cenospheres not only improves the printability and carbonation of the composite but also results in a 16 % reduction in density, achieving 1.72 g/cm³, and reduces the thermal conductivity by 59 % compared to the control without cenospheres to 0.63 W/(m·K). The findings provide valuable insights for developing lightweight 3D printable RMC-based composites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105559
JournalCement and Concrete Composites
StatePublished - Jul 2024


  • 3D printing
  • Carbonation
  • Cenospheres
  • Hydration
  • Low thermal conductivity
  • Reactive magnesium oxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science


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