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Supplementary cementitious materials


Supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) may be used to replace the portland cement content of a product either individually or in combination with other SCMs to improve your concrete’s sustainability, performance and long-term durability.

Strength in concrete depends on many factors, the most important of which is the ratio of water to cement. Good quality SCMs, such as Argos SCMs, generally reduce the amount of water needed, leading to improved strength and often improved workability or, at least, the same workability but with less water. Some SCMs contain larger or less reactive particles than portland cement, allowing significant hydration to continue for six months or longer, leading to much higher ultimate strength than concrete produced without SCMs.

In addition to enhancing the physical properties of the concrete, SCMs are often recycled byproducts of industrial processes. By using these byproducts as SCMs, we’re contributing to sustainable construction initiatives that preserve our environment for future generations. We are committed to providing our customers with the highest quality cement and doing our part to contribute to sustainable construction by offering SCMs, such as fly ash and SuperCem slag cement, in most markets.


Fly ash is a byproduct of coal combustion that has pozzolanic properties and can be recycled and used as a supplementary cementitious material. When used as a replacement for portland cement in concrete, fly ash reduces concrete’s shrinkage and permeability. In addition, fly ash improves workability, durability, resistance to sulfate attack and lowers the heat of hydration.

There are two types of fly ash. Class F is created by burning harder, older anthracite and bituminous coal and can be used as a replacement for up to 25 percent of portland cement. In contrast, Class C fly ash is produced by burning younger lignite and subbituminous coal and can be used as a replacement for up to 40 percent of portland cement. For more information on which class of fly ash would meet your project’s specifications, reach out to one of our sales representatives.


Our Ground Granulated Blast Furnace Slag (GGBFS) is a nonmetallic byproduct primarily created through the steel production process. The molten byproduct is water-quenched rapidly to form granules, which are then ground to a fineness similar to portland cement. GGBFS is commonly referred to as slag cement.

Slag cement provides numerous benefits when included in concrete. It improves durability, reduces permeability, increases ultimate strength, mitigates alkali-silica reaction, improves resistance to sulfate attack, lowers heat of hydration, and lightens color. Slag cement is also eligible for numerous Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) points when included in sustainable development projects.

Slag cement replaces portland cement in a one-to-one ratio by mass and can comprise of anywhere from 20 to 80 percent of the total cementitious content of a concrete mixture. Deciding how much slag cement to include in a mixture depends upon early strength requirements, heat generation, the need for durability and early set time. Reach out to one of our local sales representatives for more guidance on how slag cement can meet your project’s specifications.