Concrete is one of the most successful and useful products ever created. It has helped transform the world, but a lot of it is piling up in the trash heaps.
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame are trying to find a way to use recycled concrete in new buildings.
Currently, recycled concrete is used as road filler, in retaining walls and as landscape stone. What is used to make new concrete is used in non-structural applications like sidewalks and roadways. But what the researchers at Notre Dame hope to show is that recycled concrete can be used to build homes and offices. The reason recycled concrete is not used in structural applications is its variations and unknown quality.
The Same, But Not The Same
Concrete is made mostly of sand and aggregate, which are pieces of rock. Cement is used to bind the materials, creating concrete. But the exact mix can be adjusted and additives can be used, which change the properties of the final product.
Mixing varied types of recycled concrete to make new concrete can cause deficiencies in strength and stiffness. But no real research into the issue has been conducted. The researchers hope to test the durability of recycled concrete in structural applications.
If recycled concrete could one day be used in buildings, it could greatly lessen the amount of natural aggregate and sand which would have to be mined.
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