Technical, Environmental, and Cost Assessment of Granite Sludge Valorisation

Elena Surra, João Sousa, Manuela Correia, João Carvalheiras, João A. Labrincha, José C. Marques, Nuno Lapa, Cristina Delerue-Matos

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Featured Application: This work provides fundamental information regarding the technical, environmental, and economic viability of granite sludge valorisation as a substitute for feldspar in a ceramic paste and as a substitute for fine–medium inert in structural concrete. The granite sludge (GS) produced during block sawing can be exploited as alternative raw material in ceramic and concrete industries. Based on the case study of a Portuguese granite processing plant, this work analysed, by experimental tests and Environmental and Cost Life Cycle analyses, the feasibility of GS valorisation as a substitute (i) for feldspar in a ceramic paste and (ii) fine–medium inert filler in structural concrete. The results demonstrated that both the valorisation pathways are more advantageous than GS landfilling. Due to granulometric, mineralogical composition and shrinkage, GS can substitute feldspar in sandstone tiles or tableware products, although its tinting effect can limit noble whitish ceramic applications. In structural concrete mixes, 5% w/w GS instead of fine inert filler reduces the compressive strength and increases the water:cement ratio. The GS generates lower environmental impacts as a substitute for inert filler than as a substitute for feldspar in most of the impact categories analysed, even though the latter valorisation pathway provides higher benefits in Climate Change and the Depletion of Fossil resources, Water, and Ozone. If no monetary value is recognised for GS valorisation by the market, the sustainability of GS life cycle cost decreases when compared to its landfilling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4513
Number of pages19
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2023


  • disposal
  • feldspar
  • granite block cutting
  • inert filler
  • life cycle assessment
  • life cycle cost


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