Is the future of concrete green?

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Being a part of a society which has a heavy emphasis on moving forward in a ‘green’ direction, one has to wonder if they can contribute to this movement. Can they make a difference? Whether it’s in their daily practices; catching public transport or perhaps in their working methods; taking advantage of recycling programs. Whichever direction one chooses to make a difference, a combined effort of everyone contributing is what will make the difference.

Since the introduction of concrete in the creation of The Egyptian Pyramids some 5,000 years ago we have seen concrete make it’s way through an interesting historical timeline. From the Pyramids, we can see it being used during the creation of the Roman Colosseum in 300 BC, the Avlord Lake Bridge in 1889 and then in 1992 to create the worlds tallest concrete building which is located in Chicago, Illinois.

What can be ‘green’ about concrete?

Research can now tell us that when the Romans built the Colosseum, they indeed had a method, which was quite environmentally friendly. From the main active ingredients being lime, volcanic ash, salt water and tobermorite, the Roman’s developed a concrete, which was very strong and very green. So why don’t we just do it like the Roman’s did? Well this has been attempted and we’ve found that although their superb concoction of ingredients produced a phenomenal quality of concrete, the time for it to actually dry and set was far too slow and unrealistic to be used in our fast-paced society where time is everything.

What happened next?

From the invention of Portland Cement in the 1800’s, we have been relying more and more on concrete in terms of building and infrastructure.  With the development of structures that require enormous amounts of strength in order to support it, we have added steel reinforcement into the mixture.  The idea of this steel reinforcement is to provide a high level of integrity and strength to the concrete.

But is it a greener option? 

Not necessarily. The steel wires, or mesh that are used can be known to rust and oxidise which can be detrimental to the environment that surrounds it. A large problem which we face today is using these steel reinforcers in concrete and other cementitious mixes for projects underwater. Naturally when this steel material rusts and oxidises, it can potentially harm the underwater eco-systems nearby.

How can this issue be resolved?

If you haven’t already be sure to click this link and have a read of a recent blog we posted in regards to a large underwater project that we’ve been a part of and involves a greener approach to construction.

At Danterr, we have introduced two key products, the Micro Synthetic Fibre and the HPP50 Fibre, which can be seen paving a road in the direction of a greener use of concrete reinforces.  The Micro Synthetic Fire and the HPP50 Fibre are now both being used as alternatives to steel wire and steel fibre products when installing concrete projects underwater. These greener options offer a more environmentally friendly option when it comes to reinforcing concrete and to also treating cracks in the material.

With more research being made into concrete and other greener alternatives, it will be exciting to see what new approaches we can take in order to produce a concrete that will be environmentally friendly and at the same time provide the rigidity and integrity to satisfy the demands of our ever-growing society.