A New Material World

Nov. 12, 2019
Gx As Blog

Most of my adult life has been spent in one concrete jungle or another. I’ve lived in Detroit, MI, Seattle, WA, and Denver, CO, for the biggest chunks of time. In each one, the concrete of those so-called jungles showed signs of cracking, wear, and fatigue on the roads and bridges, as well as the sidewalks and buildings. They’re not pretty sights. In fact, some of the pretty sites I’ve seen have had this tired looking concrete.

An article on the Popular Mechanics website by Caroline Delbert is reporting that Russian scientists have come up with a new way of making concrete stronger, more flexible, and more crack-resistant. “Rubbery” is one adjective being used to describe the new kind of concrete. Delbert writes, “The scientists replaced 40 percent of the cement binder with plentiful, eco-friendly materials that increase the “give” and make the concrete both more ductile and elastic.”

Newatlas.com says the scientists from the Military Studies Center at Russia’s Far Eastern Federal University replaced 40% of cement with rice husk cinder, limestone crushing waste, and silica sand. “This substitution gives slabs of the concrete a somewhat rubber-like quality, allowing them to contract and spring back when subjected to impacts, instead of cracking. In fact, the material is reportedly six to nine times more crack-resistant than regular concrete. Additionally, it self-seals upon being poured, meaning that it could be well-suited to the construction of underground structures such as bunkers.

And as an added bonus, because the new concrete replaces cement with plentiful waste products, it should also be cheaper to use.”

The part I like is that the cement filler is taken out of the recipe and waste products are put into the mix, which is much better for the environment.

Of course, there’s always a rub. At this time, it’s not yet known if this new kind of concrete will be a viable alternative to be used in large-scale construction. I hope they find out soon.