UWM Center for By-Products Utilization

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University of Wisconsin Milwaukee


Current sponsors of the CBU are Madison Gas & Electric Company, Madison;  We Energies, Milwaukee; and Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, Green Bay.

With financial support from these and other sponsors, the CBU is developing low-cost, high-quality construction materials from coal combustion by-products.

Finding beneficial uses of foundry sand was the focus of CBU research projects funded by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and several Wisconsin-based foundries, including the Fall River Foundry, Falk Corporation, Kohler Co., Maynard Steel Casting Co., Waupaca Foundry, and the Badger Mining Corporation. Additional funding was also provided by SWRC, SWRRP and Recycling Market Development Board.

Other research projects by the CBU involve pulp and paper mill sludge, wood ash, used tires, plastics, glass, and other post-consumer by-products. CBU also has technology available for licensing of blended cements, manufacturing of concrete bricks, blocks, and paving stones made from recycled materials, and soil remediation.

As part of its research effort and another way of supporting continuing education in by-products utilization, the CBU organizes technology transfer workshops and symposiums each year for practicing engineers and students. The subjects of these well-attended meetings include coal ash utilization , non-destructive testing and evaluation of concrete, concrete for the 21st century, used foundry sand utilization, flowable slurry, etc.

Through their contact with CBU, both in the classroom and in the laboratory, UWM students receive valuable training in by-products utilization technology, which they will be able to apply in their future work.

"Through the seminars and workshops put on by the CBU, I've been able to network myself with other engineers sharing my interests and area of expertise."
Dr John Zachar, Professor of Architectural Engineering, Milwaukee School of Engineering


Research Work

Center researchers have worked on many research projects dealing with various aspects of by-products utilization since 1989.  The following List of CBU Reports and Publications covers many subjects in the field of by-products, construction materials, concrete, asphalt, ect.

The Center has performed research for the utilization of used foundry sand and scrap iron slag in construction materials and other products.  It has been established that used foundry sands are suitable for partial aggregate replacement in concrete and concrete products.  Extensive research was completed in 1997 to further  confirm long-term durability and performance for various applications.  most of the research related to foundry by-products was sponsored by the Wisconsin-DNR, UWM Solid Waste Research Council and Wisconsin foundries.

The Center has also performed research on the utilization of discarded tires, port-consumer waste plastics, and glass.  Used tires are accumulating at the rate of about 280 million tires per year in the United States and beneficial applications are limited at the present.  Many tires are being shredded for use as fuel for industrial power plants.  A better utilization of rubber from discarded tires is in highway pavements.  Here again, the Center has worked in finding uses for this material in construction and other applications.  More useful applications must be developed in order to increase the utilization of this material which is accumulating rapidly and is difficult and expensing to dispose.  This research was sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and WISE (Wisconsin Industries Saving over Environment).  This research was also endorsed by the City of Milwaukee and the United States Air Force.  Research on post-consumer glass was sponsored by UWS Solid Waste Recovery Research Program and Wisconsin Department of Commerce RMDB Recycling Market Development Board)

Research is continuing since 1995 in the area of pulp and paper mill residual solids (sludge) and wood ash, as well as grits and dregs.  This research is funded by RMDB, Pulp and paper mills, US-DOW, Weyerhaeuser Company, Stora Enso North America, and NCASI.  A new area that CBU is researching is finding uses for dredged materials from the Milwaukee and Green Bay confined disposal facilities.  The dredged materials are first treated to lower the concentration of contaminants before using in other products.  An initial project was funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. EPA.

Industries are encouraged to have CBU perform research wok for utilization of their by-products.  One of the many services that the Center can provide is a waste stream audit.  CBU can also perform physical and chemical characterization and provide a final report that provides a list of prioritized use options for the by-product.  The purpose of the characterization is to recommend alternatives to the normal practice of disposing by-products materials in landfills.  A partial list of cooperating and supporting companies and CBU customers since 1989 is given below.

1. Advanced Cast Stone
2. Ameren Energy
3. APS Concrete Products
4. Badger Mining Corporation
5. Best Block Company
6. Bradley University
7. Brown County Port and Solid Waste Department
8. By-Products Recycling Services, Inc.
9. Central Illinois Light Company
10. Chicago Block & Brick Co.
11. City of Peoria, Department of Public Works
12. City of Milwaukee
13. City Water, Light & Power
14. Consolidated Papers, Inc.
15. Crumb-Colton Block Company, Rockford, IL
16. Dairyland Power Cooperative
17. Dynegy Midwest Generation, Inc.
18. Electric Power Research Institute
19. Fall River Foundry
20. FiberClay Council
21. Fox River Fiber Corporation
22. Henry Nelch & Son Company
23. Illinois Clean Coal Institute
24. Illinois Concrete Company, Inc.
25. Illinois Power Company
26. Kohler Company
27. Lafarge Corporation
28. Madison Gas and Electric Company
29. Manitowoc Public Utilities
30. Maynard Steel Casting Company
31. Minergy Corporation
32. National Council of Pulp & Paper Industry for Air Stream Improvements
33. National Minerals Corporation
34. Neenah Foundry Company


35. New Berlin Ready-Mix, Inc.
36. Northern States Power Company
37. Ozinga Chicago RMC, Inc.
38. Payne and Dolan, Inc.
39. Pelton Casteel
40. Perstorp Corporation
41. Radian Corporation
42. Ready-Mix Service, Inc.
43. Recycling Market Development Board
44. Rockford Blacktop Construction Company
45. Rockwell Lime Company
46. Stainless Foundry and Engineering
47. Tenneco Packaging
48. The Falk Corporation
49. United Ready Mix, Inc.
50. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
51. U.S. Department of Energy - Agenda 2020
52. UWS Applied Research Program
53. UWS Solid Waste Research Council
54. UWS Solid Waste Recovery Research Program/ Recycling Market Development Board
55. Waupaca Foundry, Inc.
56. We Energies
57. Western Lime Corporation
58. Weyerhaeuser Company
59. Williams Energy Services - Ethanol
60. Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry
61. Wisconsin Department of Administration
62. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
63. Wisconsin Department of Transportation
64. Wisconsin Industry for Saving our Environment
65. Wisconsin Paper Council
66. Wisconsin Power & Light Company
67. Wisconsin Public Service Corporation


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