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Certain commercial products find new applications through invention and entrepreneurship. For instance, timber, originally used only for firewood and log buildings, developed into the lumber industry, with uses of sawed timber, sawdust, and bark. With chemistry, oil spawned many uses other than just for oil lamps or driving automobiles to proliferate many new industries.

There are certain versatile products which find new uses through innovation and experimentation. Take aspirin. It started off merely soothing headaches. Then it was discovered it could break a fever, then thin blood, then counter the effects of strokes. This miracle drug continues to gain new uses.


Lightweight aggregate has a similar dynamic record. We developed Solite® in 1947 to furnish the block market with an inert, non-staining aggregate substitute for cinder block in masonry walls. Solite® quickly found a growing market for structural aggregate. In the ‘50s, it was used to roof the House and Senate wings of the U.S. Capitol and to deck the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland. The same material found a geotechnical application where its angle of repose, angle of internal friction and unit weight made it ideal for use behind retaining walls and engineered fills. It has been used for years for horticultural purposes and, with the need to conserve water, for
Concrete replacement U.S. Capitol
fill on green rooftops and water filtration. One of our trademarks, SM™ initially was used for ready-mixed concrete and normal weight aggregate operations. Today it is an equipment division and rail-unloading point. Our structural lightweight aggregate, trademarked Kenlite®, serves the vast Canadian market, the Midwest, and the Southeast.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge
Green Roof on Vancouver Library

The need for additional lightweight aggregate, especially in the sand size (LWAS), is undeniable. Ours is named Hydrocure®. The annual 450,000,000 cubic yards of normal weight concrete, especially the low water/cement ratio concrete, can be improved with LWAS, which provides higher strength concrete (especially in early age, to keep it from microcracking), lower permeability, and less shrinkage and cracking.

After 100 years of growth of the cement and concrete industries, the need today is to eliminate the less desirable characteristics of low water/cement ratio normal weight concrete.

X-ray Microtomography showing
water desorbtion from Hydrocure®

High performance concrete (HPC) has been developed as a partial means, and it is certainly helpful. But the performance cannot be optimized without internal curing. This need already is being met with Hydrocure®, our absorptive aggregate. In the 21st century, the best concrete will be internally cured. Already, we lead the industry in this application.

In response to present day demands for energy efficient and green structures of all types, Northeast Solite Corporation has developed Greenlite™ lightweight aggregate.  The production process involves the use of recycled materials. Because Greenlite™ uses such materials as constituents, it has an improved LEED classification.