Stronger, More Sustainable Cement

From Australia’s infolink, news of a new development in a basic building material:

TecEco, a small organisation on the verge of revolutionising the way concrete is manufactured and used in construction, has released its own mud brick cement that not only is proving stronger, but more sustainable than traditional cements.

Up until now, binders for mud bricks have utilised binders such as Portland cement (PC), lime, pozzolanas, bitumen emulsion and straw (for โ€˜puddledโ€™ mud bricks). TecEco is now test-marketing an eco-cement formulation for block making that greatly improves strength and resistance to exposure as well as making them more sustainable.

The strength, when compared to PC in a test performed by the Brick and Mortar Research Laboratory (BMRL), was found to be more than 150 per cent stronger, with the TecEco bricks having a mean strength of 1.0Mpa.

And importantly, in the search for sustainable development, TecEcoโ€™s eco-cement has more strength for less amount of binder used. Added to this, TecEco says the use of eco-cements reduces net emissions, notably in carbon dioxide (CO2). Mimicking nature eco-cement concretes absorb large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere in order to harden into materials used in the built environment. Portland cement, on the other hand, is seen as problematic because of its high embodied energy and CO2 when compared with eco-cement.

The final โ€˜greenโ€™ aspect of eco-cement that has attracted international interest and local joint ventures in research involving some of Australiaโ€™s largest construction materials manufacturers, is that it can utilise large, chemically benign amounts of various wastes for its physical property rather than chemical composition, adding values such as lighter weight or greater insulating ability.

Obviously, I’m a sucker for such innovations, but rethinking the basics seems to be the most productive path towards a greener world; it also seems to be a type of thinking that the building/construction industry is doing well. It will be interesting to see how well this catches on, and whether the creators can sell it for a price comparable to traditional concrete. Love to hear what you in the building and engineering fields think…

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