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Cities Can Be Made Stronger And Greener By Using Volcanic Ash Cement | Innovation Discoveries

Cement is one of the basic building blocks of the modern civilization and also plays an important role in the biggest threats that nature is facing. A team of researchers from MIT recently found that if the volcanic ash is added to the mixture of cement, it will make the structures stronger as well as it will also be more environmentally friendly. In the past, MIT has worked to irradicate plastic bottles and tweaking calcium levels to improve the cement production. This time, they are using volcanic ash which has many advantages and disadvantages as an ingredient in the cement recipe.

The volcanic ash can be found abundantly around any active or inactive volcano. It is not used anywhere. But when reduced to powder and mixed with water and few other materials, it forms a cement-like paste. Stephanie Chin from MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering said, «Cement production takes a lot of energy because there are high temperatures involved, and it’s a multistage process.

That’s the main motivation for trying to find an alternative. » This indicates the total energy which is used to do things like crush rock, cure cement or produce concrete. After that, the team produced some samples in the lab. When the ash was reduced to a particle size of 6 micrometres, it also greatly boosted the strength and created more surface area for the mixture of water and the cement.

They are now looking to apply knowledge to the real world. They have considered a residential area in Kuwait which has 13 residences and 14 commercial buildings which were made from the regular Portland cement. They used drones over the building to capture the images and take measurements. The data obtained was then combined with the data obtained from the local authorities.

The ash is known to be very abundant in the Middle East. The optimal amount on which the scientists settled was 30%. The best part to adopt this approach is that it is flexible. The recipe can be tuned depending on the task and the amount of volcanic ash can be altered accordingly.

Buyukozturk explained, «You can customize this. If it is for a traffic block, for example, where you may not need as much strength as, say, for a high-rise building. So you could produce those things with much less energy. That is huge if you think of the amount of concrete that’s used over the world.

Ekster EU

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