5 High Tech and Eco-Friendly Concrete Alternatives

By: Mary Smith..


Around the world, "green" is hot. Demand for environmentally buildings, homes, and products have exploded. Green buildings command a premium because they're not yet common. As a result the industry is developing ever more environmentally friendly products than ever before. More green buildings are being designed and more green materials are being specified.
One of the most common construction materials ever is concrete. It has been used for every kind of building project all over the globe. Concrete however, has a glaring problem. The primary component, cement, is not environmentally friendly. The production of 1 ton of cement produces 1 ton of carbon-dioxide. To solve the problem a number of companies have attempted to find innovative solutions.
One such firm is Calera, a California based company. They have succeeded in developing a process to produce both cement and aggregate, another component of concrete. Their process actually removes one ton of carbon dioxide for every ton of cement produced.
iCrete, another California company, developed a way to produce hi-tech concrete with notably better performance than standard concrete. This company has created innovative new mix-design techniques which also have much lower CO2 gas emissions. The technology used by iCrete can reduce the greenhouse gas emissions by 40%.
On the east coast a company by the name of Hycrete has developed a method to permanently make concrete waterproof. Less environmentally friendly oil-based products are currently being used. Hycrete's process protects underground concrete and speeds up construction without petroleum based coatings.
Technology experts and scientists have also been studying the deterioration of concrete for some time now. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been researching concrete on a sub-microscopic level. They report that with additional research they should be able to extend the life of concrete used in construction to over a thousand years. This is up from the 100 year lifespan that concrete now provides and result in less concrete being produced and used.
Another problem with traditional concrete is the formation of very minute cracks which eventually impacts the strength of the concrete structure eventually requiring replacement of the building. University of Michigan labs have developed a concrete able to self-heal these cracks. When concrete cracks, it exposes the cement to air which usually begins the deterioration process. But with their mix, calcium carbonate in the concrete combines with carbon dioxide in the air and heals the cracks. This reduces the need to replace or repair the concrete.
Over hundreds of years, concrete has become one of the most useful building products on the planet. It's strong, durable and easily formed. Scientists, engineers and innovative companies will continue to improve concrete to reduce its environmental impact, make it even more useful, and even more economical.

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Mary Smith is a freelance writer. She heard about high tech concrete from Florida Engineering Solutions. They do structural engineering design, not construction. When you need prestressed / precast concrete design, or concrete foundation design, remember Florida Engineering Solutions.

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