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Sat 28 Nov 2009 04:00 AM

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Lightweight champion

Lytag managing director Andrew Doel discusses the advantages of lightweight concrete and how his company is progressing in the Middle East.

Lightweight champion

Lytag managing director Andrew Doel discusses the advantages of lightweight concrete and how his company is progressing in the Middle East.

What products and services do you offer?

We manufacture and supply a lightweight aggregate, which is used primarily within lightweight concrete. One of the major disadvantages of concrete is its deadweight (density). If you use Lytag in your concrete you can reduce your deadweight down to about 1400kg and 1800kg per m³. The density of normal concrete made with plain cement is about 2400kg per m³. The product itself is manufactured from pulvarised fly ash, which is generated from electricity production in coal-fired power stations. The density of Lytag is around 850kg per m³ and dry density is about 750kg per m³. The low density of the conrete also improves its insulating properties. Thermal conductivity can be reduced by over 25% by using light weight aggregate as opposed to natural aggregate. We set up business in the early 1960s and I think it was a product that was a little bit before its time during that period.

Does the density of Lytag affect the performance of the concrete produced?No. Lytag concrete will have the same structural integrity as normal concrete – you produce the same strengths. Sixty Newton is perfectly achievable with Lytag. It can certainly be used in high-rise towers, where light weight is an important factor, and any other structure for that matter. The reduction in dead weight means that considerable savings can be made in foundation and reinforcement costs. There are also no issues with pumping the concrete.

Which Middle East projects have you supplied your product to?

We are relatively new in the Middle East, however, we have supplied a number of projects with Lytag. The two that spring to mind are Terminal 3 at Dubai Airport and the new aluminium smelter in Abu Dhabi. These are the larger projects that we have worked on in the Middle East. We supply the product to the ready mix producer, which then makes the concrete. Lytag is usually specified by the engineer or architect in order to take advantage of the end product.

When and why did Lytag come to the Middle East?

Lytag is not set up here in the Middle East, we have partnered with Bulk Materials International in September last year. We certainly plan to continue working with them but one never knows what the future holds. At the moment, our material is manufactured in Europe but we are looking to start manufacturing the product in India, which would open up the volume of product that we have available. There are one or two projects that we have planned for the future, for example we have been talking with clients in Dubai and Doha.

How sustainable is light weight aggregate?

It is environmentally friendly in a number of ways. Over the years that Lytag has been operating we have used around 16 million tonnes to 17 million tonnes of fly ash. If we didn’t use it, it would generally go to a landfill. Natural aggregates are around twice the density of Lytag. For every tonne of Lytag you use, you prevent the extraction of two tonnes of natural aggregate, which you can’t ever replace. Also, a lot of steel that goes into concrete is there to support the dead weight, therefore you can reduce the quantity of steel that goes into a structure when using a light weight aggregate. One project in the UK recorded a 13% reduction in the quantity of steel they used. Two recommendations put forward by the World Commission on the Environment are to conserve and enchance the resource base and combine environment and economic considerations in decision making, which is what we do at Lytag. The aggregate also improves fire resistance, partly due to particle stability at elevated temperatures, as well as chemical and frost resistance.

Doel has worked in the construction industry for more than 20 years, specialising in the cement, concrete and aggregate markets. After joining the company in 2000, he has fulfilled the role of managing director of Lytag since 2008. Overseeing the growth of the Lytag brand worldwide, Doel divides much of his time between the UK and the Middle East.

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