Researchers Develop the Sustainable Concrete of the Future | AIChE

Researchers Develop the Sustainable Concrete of the Future


The technological expansion of modern society currently relies on concrete and coal — concrete skyscrapers, dams, and bridges underpin urban jungles, and much of the world depends on electricity produced cheaply by burning coal. This progress, however, comes at a price.

Manufacturing concrete requires a massive amount of energy that contributes up to 5–8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and burning coal produces flyash as waste, which ends up primarily in landfills and contaminates the environment. To address these issues, researchers at Washington State Univ. (WSU) have developed a sustainable alternative to concrete that uses flyash rather than cement as its main ingredient and requires absolutely no heating to produce.

Traditional concrete is made of an aggregate, such as gravel and sand, and a binder — powdered cement and water. The cement combines with water to form a paste that coats the aggregate and holds the particles together, creating solid concrete when it dries.

The production of cement demands high temperatures, which requires the burning of...

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