Gurcharan Singh, Dr. S. K. Madan
Department of Civil Engineering
National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra

Marble dust is an industrial by-product obtained during sawing, shaping, and polishing of marble and causes a serious problem to the environment. Research indicate that the effect of mixing marble dust on the properties of cement such as consistency, initial and final setting times remain within the acceptable ranges of different standards. This study presents the feasibility of the production of concrete with marble dust as partial replacement of cement upto 20% (by weight) and to find out the optimum percentage of marble dust. The compressive strength and workability of Concrete was studied experimentally using marble dust as partial replacement of cement. Micro structural properties of concrete modified with marble dust were investigated by SEM. The results of the study indicated that up to 10% of marble dust can be used as replacement of cement without decrease in strength of the concrete.

Transformation of a pure limestone creates metamorphic rock called marble. Limestone is composed solely of calcite (100% CaCO3) is purely white in appearance. Chemically, marbles are crystalline rocks composed predominantly of calcite, dolomite or serpentine minerals [1,2]. Cutting process of stone generated a large amount of marble dust lot of environmental related problems can be generated as we leave this dust in the environment. The advancement in concrete technology can lessen the burden of pollutants on the environment and reduce the consumption of natural resources. A lot of mineral admixtures are used in the concrete production like blast furnace slag, silica fume, fly ash to minimize their hazards. These wastes have beneficial effect on concrete properties include mechanical and durability aspects. Marble and granite grains and dust are considered waste materials during production of marble and granite products. Marble and granite are used as coarse aggregate and fine aggregate to produce concrete mixes with different grades.

Annually billion tons of cement manufactured around the world consumes enormous amount of energy. For better environment the demand is to decrease because cement manufacturing is largest contributor of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Various mineral additives like silica fume, fly ash and blast furnace slag have been used in concrete production, whereas marble dust can be used as replacement of sand as well as replacement of cement content in concrete. It has been seen that the usage of byproducts of marble as hundred percent substitutes for natural sand in concrete has displayed an enhancing effect on the compressive strength and split tensile strength of concrete. The durability as well as workability has increased to large extent by use of marble dust as replacement of fine aggregate and coarse aggregate. The effect on properties of concrete were investigated and concluded that optimum percentage for replacement of sand with marble powder in concrete is almost 50% [1-9].

On the other hand, the effect of using marble powder and granules as constituents of fines in mortar or concrete by partially reducing quantities of cement as well as other conventional fines has been found better in terms of the relative workability & compressive as well as flexural strengths [10-11].

Waste marble dust has been used as an additive material in blended cement for cement manufacturing [13]. Most of the studies have focused on the replacement of marble dust with cement in the cement mortar [12]. SEM test was conducted on the mortar sample. Optimum percentage of marble dust in concrete was not defined. Studies have shown that marble dust can be used as filler material in production of self compacting concrete [19-20].

This study was planned to investigate various properties of concrete namely workability, compressive strength, as well as study of micro structure of concrete with replacement of marble dust for different percentage with cement by scanning electron microscope test. The amount of replacement of cement with marble dust varies from 0-20 percent by weight of cement.

The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of marble dust as replacement of cement in concrete. Five different concrete mixes with replacement of cement with marble dust varying from 0-20 percent (by weight) were prepared for two concrete mixes M25 and M30. The control cubes of concrete were tested at 7 days and 28 days to assess the compressive strength for each mix. For micro structure study SEM was used.


2.1.1     Marble dust: Marble dust was obtained from the marble processing industry situated at Alwar in Rajasthan, India. The chemical composition of marble powder is presented in Table 1. XRD technique is used to find the mineralogical composition of marble dust as shown in Fig. 1. XRD spectrum indicates that magnesium calcium bis(carbonate) (MgCa(CO3)2) and calcium magnesium aluminum catena- alumosilicate are the main crystalline mineral present in marble dust.

X-Ray diffraction spectrum of marble dust
Fig. 1. X-Ray diffraction spectrum of marble dust
Table 1: Chemical composition of Marble Dust
Oxides compound percentage
CaO 42.45
Al2O3 0.520
SiO2 26.35
Fe2 O3 9.40
MgO 1.52
2.1.2     Cement: Ordinary Portland cement 43 grade shree 40 week 2014 conforming to IS 8112 -2013 adopted in this work. The test conducted on cement is shown in Table 2.
Table 2: Physical testing of cement
Sr. no. Test Result IS Requirement 8112-2013
1 Fineness of cement 2.5% (Max 10%)
2 Consistency of cement 30 %  
3 Initial setting time 72 min (Min 30 mint)
4 Final setting time 195 min (Max 600 mint)
5 Compressive strength of cement at 3 days
7 days
28 days
27.33 N/mm2
36.25 N/mm2
47.75 N/mm2
23 N/mm2
33 N/mm2
43 N/mm2

2.1.3     Coarse aggregate: Sieve analysis
Table 3: Fraction I (20 mm)
Sieve size, mm %age passing
40 100
20 91.55
10 1.1
Table 4: Fraction II (10 mm)
Sieve size, mm %age passing
12.5 100
10 95.5
4.75 1.5

2.1.4     Fine aggregates
Table 5: Coarse sand
Sieve size, mm %age retained cumulative %age passing
4.75 10.4 89.6
2.36 25.4 74.6
1.18 36.7 63.3
600 micron 40.3 59.7
300 micron 46.0 54.0
150 micron 53.0 47.0
Fineness modulus = 2.118

Table 6: Mix Proportions for M25 grade concrete

Mix constituents

For 1 m3 of concrete (kg)

For 1bag of cement (kg)










Coarse aggregates 



Water cement ratio



Table 7: Mix Proportions for M30 grade concrete
Mix constituents For 1 m3 of concrete (kg) For 1 bag of cement (kg)
Cement 425 50
Water 187 22
Sand 550 65
Coarse aggregates  1160(580+580) 136(68+68)
Water cement ratio 0.44 0.44

2.2     CASTING AND TESTING - Marble dust was mixed with cement in dry condition with the help of mixer. Control cubes of 150 mm were cast for five different concrete mixes for each mix of M25 and M30. Compaction of the entire cubes was done by using table vibrator and curing was done in curing tank at a temperature of 27 ± 2 °C for 28 days. The details are shown in Table 8 and Table 9. Compressive strength and scanning electron tests (SEM) were conducted on hardened cubes. The cubes to be tested were weighted before they are placed in the compression testing machine.(CTM). The cubes were placed centrally over the compression testing machine which applied the load vertically at an uniform rate of 5250 N/Sec.

Table 8: Concrete mix M25 with percentage replacement of cement
Concrete mix Cement (kg) Marble dust as replacement of cement (kg) / (%age) Sand
Coarse Agg
Slump (mm)
CM1 12.610 0.0000/(0) 18.50 35.393 5.913 35
CM2 11.979 0.6304/(5) 18.50 35.393 5.913 38
CM3 11.3485 1.261/(10) 18.50 35.393 5.913 40
CM4 10.717 1.8916/(15) 18.50 35.393 5.913 41
CM5 10.089 2.522/(20) 18.50 35.393 5.913 45
Table 9: Concrete mix M30 with percentage replacement of cement
Concrete mix Cement (kg) Marble dust as replacement of cement  (kg)/(%age) Sand
Coarse Agg
Slump (mm)
CM1 12.65968 0/(0) 16.71 35.23547 5.684211 32
CM2 12.02684 0.63284/(5) 16.71 35.23547 5.684211 35
CM3 11.39305 1.26568/(10) 16.71 35.23547 5.684211 39
CM4 10.76116 1.89852/(15) 16.71 35.23547 5.684211 41
CM5 10.12832 2.53231/(20) 16.71 35.23547 5.684211 43

Concrete structure is composed of three components, namely, hydrated cement paste with marble dust, the aggregates, and the transition zone between paste and the aggregates. The investigations were done for partial replacement of cement with marble dust varying from 0% to 20% for two grades of concrete M25 and M30.The compressive strength of concrete mixes and SEM study are presented below:

3.1     WORKABILITY - Slump cone test was used to study the workability of various concrete mixes. With the increase in the marble dust from 0% to 20% , slump of concrete increased: CM5 mix has higher value of slump as compared to CM1 for both the grade as can be seen from Fig. 2, Table 6 and Table 7.

Slump of cement concrete mixes
Fig. 2. Slump of cement concrete mixes.

3.2     COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH - Compressive strength of concrete mixes with various percentage of marble dust as replacement of cement at age of 7 days and 28 days respectively are shown in Fig.3 and Fig.4. From Table 10 and 11 it can be observed that with the replacement of cement with marble dust for 5% & 10% there is an increase in the strength at 7days as well as at 28 days. For M25 grade of concrete the increase is varying from 5.98 % to 24.20% at 7 days and 4.95 % to 21.23 % at 28 days. Similarly for M30 grade of concrete the increase is varying from 8.32% to 26.17 % at 7 days and 5.88% to 21.56% at 28 days. Marble dust act as binding material up to 10% replacement which increased compressive strength of CM3 as compared to control specimen CM1.

Compressive strength at 7 days of cement concrete mixes.
Fig. 3. Compressive strength at 7 days of cement concrete mixes.

It is also observed that with the replacement of cement with marble dust for 15% & 20% there is a decrease in the strength at 7days as well as at 28 days. For M25 grade of concrete the decreases are varying from 5.94 % to 30.55% at 7 days and 31.25 % to 21.23 % at 28 days. Similarly for M30 grade of concrete the increases are varying from 5.81% to34.16 % at 7 days and 6.81% to 36.04% at 28 days. CM4 and CM5 have lesser compressive strength as compared to CM1. It can be concluded that the maximum value of compressive strength obtained at 10% replacement of marble dust with cement. After 10% replacement, marble dust acts as filler and no increase in the strength was observed.

Compressive strength at 28 days of cement concrete mixes.
Fig. 4. Compressive strength at 28 days of cement concrete mixes.

3.3     MICROSTRUCTURE - Scanning electron microscope (SEM) is an electron microscope that focuses across the specimen by scanning it through interaction with a beam of electrons. Broken piece of concrete cubes after compression test were used to study microstructure of different concrete mixes. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) micrographs and Energy-dispersive X ray spectroscopy (EDS) images of specimens at 28 days are shown in fig (5-14). The micrograph shows that the paste is composed of amorphous particles of calcium silicate hydrate(C-S-H), calcium hydroxide (C-H) crystals and the ettringites (E) needles of calcium sulfo-aluminate hydrate are located. The voids represented as V on SEM images are decreased.

SEM and EDS Image of concrete with 0% marble dust.

SEM and EDS Image of concrete with 5% marble dust.

SEM and EDS Image of concrete with 10% marble dust.

Fig 9. shows that the hardened paste of concrete is completely hydrated and voids completely filled. The grain type morphology of calcium hydroxide ( C-H ) and needle of ettringites(E) are very less in Fig. 9 compared with Fig. 5 & Fig. 7. It can be observed that concrete mix with marble dust is denser and hence less porous up to 10%.

SEM and EDS Image of concrete with 10% marble dust.

SEM and EDS Image of concrete with 10% marble dust.

Other SEM images (Fig. 11, 13) of cement concrete paste incorporating 15% and 20% marble dust as a cement replacement showed the large number of voids in them. The presence of calcium hydroxide (C-H), the strength-contributing potential due to van der waals forces is limited. Higher percentage of voids in cement concrete paste affected its compressive strength.
Table 10: Compressive strength of cement concrete cubes of grade M25
Mix Designations 7 days strength N/mm2
(Average of three)
28 days strength N/mm2
(Average of three)
CM1 21.90 32.51
CM2 23.21 34.12
CM3 27.20 39.41
CM4 20.60 30.29
CM5 15.21 22.35
Table 11: Compressive strength of cement concrete cubes of grade M30
Mix Designations 7 days strength N/mm2
(Average of three)
28 days strength N/mm2
(Average of three)
CM1 27.51 40.81
CM2 29.80 43.21
CM3 34.71 49.61
CM4 25.91 38.03
CM5 18.11 26.10

The following conclusions can be drawn from present study.
  1. The experimental results showed that up to 10% of marble dust can be used as replacement of cement in concrete with an increase of compressive strength at 28 days of 21.22 % and 21.56 % for M25 and M30 concrete respectively.
  2. Workability of concrete in term of slump increased with increase in the percentage of marble dust in concrete.
  3. SEM images show that the replacement of marble dust more than 10% with cement in concrete leads to formation of more calcium hydroxide and ettringites which are having lesser contribution to strength of concrete.
  4. The results form a basis for strong recommendation for the use of marble dust as replacement of cement in concrete thereby saving the environment from dust pollution.
  5. The use of marble dust in construction is cost effective because marble dust is available free of cost.
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