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Environment Friendly Concrete Mixtures

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February 28, 2023

Why in news?

Bendable concrete and other CO2-infused cement mixes could dramatically cut global emissions.

What is the issue?

  • The production of cement, the binding element in concrete, accounted for 7% of total global carbon dioxide emissions in 2018.
  • Concrete is one of the most-used resources on Earth, with an estimated 26 billion tons produced annually worldwide.

How is the industry moving towards a sustainable path?

  • Concrete It is made up of aggregate materials, primarily rocks and sand, along with cement and water and about 80% of concrete's carbon footprint comes from cement.
  • Industrial by products Iron slag and coal fly ash are now frequently used to reduce the amount of cement needed.
  • The resulting concrete can have significantly lower emissions because of that change.
  • Alternative binders Limestone calcined clay can also reduce cement use.
  • Usage of CO2 CO2 makes up a significant percentage of concrete mass.
  • It can be added in the form of aggregates or injected during mixing.
  • Carbonation curing It can also be used after concrete has been cast.
  • These processes turn CO2 from a gas to a mineral, creating solid carbonates that may also improve the strength of concrete.
  • Bendable Concrete Material It allows thinner, less brittle structure that require less steel reinforcement, further reducing related carbon emissions.
  • The material can be engineered to maximize the amount of CO2 it can store by using smaller particles that readily react with CO2, turning it to mineral.
  • Bendable concrete was used in the 61-story Kitahama tower in Osaka, Japan, and Roadway Bridge slabs in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
  • That means structures may need less cement, reducing the amount of related emissions.

bendable-concrete

What are the challenges and how can they be addressed?

  • CO2 curing - CO2 curing can improve concrete's strength and durability.
  • Research can improve the conditions and the timing of steps in the curing process to increase concrete's performance.
  • Electricity use It is the largest emissions source during curing.
  • It can be reduced by streamlining the process, by using waste heat.
  • Advanced concrete mixes, bendable concrete in particular, already begin to address these issues by increasing durability.

Why infrastructure should be merged with climate policy?

  • Government investment and procurement policies are still needed to transform the construction industry.
  • In New York and New Jersey, lawmakers have proposed state-level policies that would provide price discounts in the bidding process to proposals with the lowest emissions from concrete.
  • These policies could serve as a blueprint for reducing carbon emissions from concrete production and other building materials.

 

References

  1. The Hindu │ Bendable concrete and other CO2-infused cement mixes
  2. The Washington Post │ Bendable concrete, other CO2-infused cement mixes
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