SRM Concrete – A New Sustainable and Innovative Construction Material

Concrete is one of the building materials that is used all across the globe due to its durability and cost. As with every other industry turning environment-friendly, the construction industry is looking forward to replacing traditional concrete with SRM concrete.

SRM concrete stands for “Sustainable Reactive Magnesium Oxide Concrete. So what is it exactly? The main difference between traditional concrete and SRM concrete is the material used in the making. In the making of traditional concrete, the basic ingredient used is called Portland cement, whereas SRM Concrete is made using magnesium oxide (MgO).  

What is special about MgO?

MgO is a type of mineral that is found naturally in magnesite ore. When its get’s combined with water, it forms a strong and durable cement-like material that is being used currently as a new concept in the construction industry.

MgO has high reactivity to water which allows the material made through it to use low amounts of water.

The end result of the concrete made using this concept is strong and dense concrete with lower porosity compared to traditional concrete.

To use this image provide proper credits to this link

Why SRM Concrete?

Robust Strength: As discussed above, SRM concrete contains MgO which is highly reactive to water. This allows the formation of strong bonds between the particles upon composition resulting in higher compressive strength than traditional concrete. All the constructions that use SRM concrete have durable and long-lasting life throughout all seasons.

Also read- What is Honeycombing in Concrete?

Easy to Use: One aspect that makes SRM concrete a desirable construction material is its rapid setting. As this concrete sets fast during the construction process, the dependency on curing the construction becomes low.

Eco-Friendly: Compared to traditional concrete, SRM concrete has a lower carbon footprint because it takes fewer amounts of energy in the production of MgO thereby releasing fewer greenhouse gases.

Lower Porosity: For constructions that require protection against water damage, this type of material is the best choice as it provides Low Permeability to water and other liquids.

The Making of SRM Concrete

To use this image provide proper credits to this link

There are no major differences in the making of SRM concrete compared to traditional concrete, the key differentiator being the use of MgO as the basic ingredient instead of Portland cement. Accordingly, the making comprises four steps that are as follows,


Firstly MgO is mixed with water with the use of a high-speed mixer to ensure that the MgO is evenly distributed.


Silica fume, fly ash, and metakaolin are used as additives in the mixture ensuring high strength and durability of the concrete mixture.

Other Mixtures:

To add the necessary bulk and texture to the concrete, aggregates such as sand and gravel are added to the mixture.


It is done to ensure equal distribution of the ingredients in the mixture. Usually takes 5-10 minutes, and then you have your SRM concrete mixture ready.

Day-to-Day Applications of SRM Concrete

To use this image provide proper credits to this link

Walls Construction:

The Projects such as high-rise buildings that require load-bearing walls with high strength, durability, and damage resistance can have SRM Concrete as an excellent choice as a building material. Walls built using SRM Concrete require less maintenance saving cost and time overall.

No matter during the rains of monsoons till the sunshine of summer, you may rarely find any scratches or damage in these walls. It can also be used to build basement walls that are resistant to water damage and the growth of mold and mildew.

Infrastructure projects:

While building infra projects such as Roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, public properties, etc what’s the priority? Durability, Right? Whatever is being built for public use or mass-scale use it should be long-lasting and sustainable for many years to bring good ROI. For this priority, SRM Concrete makes it to the top 10 list.

A) Roads and Bridges: Heavy fast moving traffic can increase the wear and tear on the roads, resulting in cracks and holes. And building roads is a time-sensitive project. Due to the high compressive strength, durability, and resistance to water damage, its rapid setting time, SRM Concrete offers a viable option for this application.  Dubai-Al Ain Road in the United Arab Emirates a 2.5 km stretch road was completed using SRM Concrete.

B) Tunnels: Being built underground, tunnels have to withstand all-time high-pressure conditions and other issues like water damage, corrosion, fire hazards, etc. SRM Concrete can offer robust strength and its low thermal conductivity makes it less prone to fire-related hazards. The high density of the building material can ensure that the structure withstands all the water damage during wet seasons for many years. The Eysturoy Tunnel in the Faroe Islands is an 11-kilometer-long subsea tunnel that was constructed using SRM concrete.  

C) Dams: For a giant structure like a dam, minor issues like leakage of water can result in bigger concerns. Due to its water resistance properties and the ability to manage high pressure, SRM Concrete can be used as a building material for these types of structures. Felsenau Test Dam, constructed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), is a small-scale pilot project in Switzerland that used SRM concrete as the primary construction material.

Precast Concrete Products:

These products are a type of construction product that is transported from the factory and are ready for direct installation. They are in many structural components such as wall panels, floors, tiles, beams, columns, etc. One biggest benefits that people think of while choosing such products is the reduced labor costs and time savings. These products offer the same benefit such as a traditional concrete-built structure. It has provided an opportunity for the manufacturers to specialize in making these components with low cost and less time providing a great deal for both manufacturers and consumers.

Retaining Projects:

These projects are aimed at building structures, residential (or) commercial (or) infrastructural, that are designed to hold back soil and prevent erosion. For example, The Honolulu International Airport in Hawaii has a large retaining wall that was constructed to protect the airport’s runway and taxiway from soil erosion and landslides. The Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area in Nevada features several large retaining walls that were constructed to protect the scenic highway from soil erosion and rockfall.

Due to its resistance properties against water and chemicals, the use of SRM concrete is becoming very much popular in these areas. Eg: Sylmar Water Treatment Plant in the City of Los Angeles was built in 2013 using SRM Concrete.

Industrial Applications:

SRM Concrete has many industrial applications as construction material for building Manufacturing Plants, Power Plants, Oil and Gas Refineries, Chemical Plants, Food Processing Plants, Wastewater Treatment Plants Etc.

The properties of this material such as Fire resistance, waterproof, and chemical resistance make it the best choice for building industrial applications. Eg: Aerospace manufacturing facility in Southern California.

Usage in Parks:

Since 2013, SRM Concrete is used by designers in building parks and other recreational facilities, in regions such as Houston, Texas, and New York. Eg: Walkways and Bridges in New York City Central Park.

Sound Barriers:

Due to its effective sound insulation properties, SRM Concrete is like all one option as a building material to eliminate or at least reduce noise pollution. Eg: SR 99 tunnel in Seattle, Washington, was constructed with an innovative noise-reducing system that includes over 4,000 concrete panels made from SRM concrete. Researchers at the University of Rome found that sound barriers made using SRM concrete can reduce traffic noise by up to 10 decibels, compared to traditional concrete sound barriers.

Problems with SRM Concrete

Like every other new product or innovation, which revolutionalizes an entire industry, and comes with new challenges and difficulties, SRM Concrete is nothing different. Its newness to the construction industry leaves a huge gap that is to be filled with experiences and real-time learnings about the new material. This means that many contractors and engineers may not be familiar with the material or may not have access to the necessary expertise or equipment to work with it effectively.

Do we need specialized labor while working with SRM Concrete? Or any special equipment? Are there any logistical challenges? Let’s find out. Below are some of the findings about SRM Concrete.

1.Availability of MgO(Magnesium oxide):

MgO which is used as a primary key ingredient in the making of SRM Concrete is not easily available just like Portland cement. This is because of the newness of the material which requires it to become more common and popular to increase the supply with demand.

2. Uncertainty with High Rise Structures:

The property of enduring high compressive strength of SRM Concrete is not adequately tested to be certain about the outcomes. Some industry experts suggest that SRM concrete may not be suitable for structures that require very high compressive strength, such as high-rise buildings or bridges.

3. Uncertainty with High temp structures:

From Giant industrial structures that may use this material for its fire resistance, to domestic chimneys and furnaces, SRM Concrete may not yield positive results as still the material is subjected to adequate testing and improvements. Though the material is fire resistant, the outcome after its prolonged application to extreme heat and high temperatures is uncertain.

4. High market Cost:

Due to gaps in the market availability or supply, the inexperience of many contractors with the material and process, and inadequate supply of key ingredients have resulted in higher costs of the Material.

5. Newness to Consumers:

Unless and Until the consumer is not confident about the material, either while building a residential home or a high-rise apartment, contractors and engineers may find it hard to bring this new technology into the industry. Many consumers are unaware of the latest technological innovations in the industry and rely on traditional and safe elements to avoid risk.


In this article, we have tried to present you with all the necessary information about SRM Concrete which is very new to the industry. It comes with many benefits to the consumers and contractors, that have been discussed above, along with its new challenges that need to be addressed properly.

We as humans have evolved from living in caves to building our homes with mud and brick. Now we may be on the very verge of a new technological advancement in the construction industry that can change how we build our sweet homes. Maybe efforts in this area could give us another opportunity to develop many gateway technologies leading to numerous innovations that can benefit mankind. Let’s see.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *