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Scientists Develop 'Programmable' Cement Particles For More Durable Concrete

By Christie Abagon , Dec 09, 2016 01:54 AM EST
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"Programmable" cement to make buildings stronger are now a possibility.  Scientists from Rice University said they have found a way to "program" cement particles into specific shapes to create concrete that is less porous, more durable, and environment friendly.

The researchers conducted extensive experiments; which led to the decoding of nanoscale reactions -- or "morphogenesis" -- of the crystallization within calcium-silicate hydrate (C-S-H) cement that holds concrete together.

Scientists Say They Were Able To Manipulate Cement's Particles

In a report published in Journal of Materials Chemistry A, the researchers said that they decoded kinetic properties found in cement, which allowed them to manipulate or "program" the particles within the substance to adjust its properties.

Rouzbeh Shahsavari, lead author of the study said: "We call it programmable cement.  The great advance of this work is that it's the first step in controlling the kinetics of cement to get desired shapes. We show how one can control the morphology and size of the basic building blocks of C-S-H so that they can self-assemble into microstructures with far greater packing density compared with conventional amorphous C-S-H microstructures."

Cement Production Contributes To Greenhouse Gas

Production of concrete plays a major role in greenhouse gas emissions.  Three billion tons of concrete yearly emits as much as 0 percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

This programmable cement will change the concrete game.  There a lot of benefits to this, researchers say.   Newatlas quoted Shahsavari: "One is that you need less of it because it is stronger.  This stems from better packing of the cubic particles, which leads to stronger microstructures. The other is that it will be more durable. Less porosity makes it harder for unwanted chemicals to find a path through the concrete, so it does a better job of protecting steel reinforcement inside."

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