Finding a new formula for concrete

In a paper, researchers contrasts cement paste – concrete’s binding ingredient – with the structure and properties of natural materials such as bones, shells, and deep-sea sponges.

"Hopefully this will lead us to some sort of recipe for more sustainable concrete -

As the researchers observed, these biological materials are exceptionally strong and durable, thanks in part to their precise assembly of structures at multiple length scales, from the molecular to the macro, or visible, level.

Studying the durability of civil infrastructure

In recent years, continuum and atomistic modeling of cementitious materials has provided significant advances towards studying the durability of civil infrastructure. An important frontier to understanding structure-property relationships is the “mesoscale”, which represents the bridge between underlying (e.g. molecular) processes and bulk macroscale behaviour.

From molecules to bridges

This MIT research highlights examples of a mesoscale approach within biological materials and emphasises their applicability to the study and design of sustainable cement-based materials at multiple length scales. The team propose a methodology focused on the coupling of computation and experiment for furthering our understanding of the microstructural properties that control the durability of hardened cement paste.

The study is published in: Construction and Building Materials, Volume 115, 15 July 2016, Pages 13–31

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