Add concrete to the list of things graphene can improve. Scientists at the University of Exeter‘s Center for Graphene Science developed a new technique to incorporate graphene in concrete production with the help of nanoengineering technology — and the resulting material is not only over twice as strong as concretes we have today, but it “drastically reduced the carbon footprint of conventional concrete production methods.”

Concrete parking garage in Miami, Florida with the skyline in the background

Is there anything graphene can’t do? It can boost both the strength and durability of concrete. The resulting University of Exeter composite material is four times as water resistant as existing concretes, and, according to professor Monica Craciun, “by including graphene we can reduce the amount of materials required to make concrete by around 50 percent — leading to a significant reduction of 446 kilograms per tonne of the carbon emissions.”

Related: MIT just discovered a way to mass produce graphene in long rolls

The research, published in late April in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, pioneers a novel, low cost technique that is, according to the university, compatible with requirements for modern, large-scale manufacturing. The composite material can be utilized right on building sites.

Craciun described the new green concrete as an absolute game-changer. She said its strength, durability, and water resistance make it “uniquely suitable for construction in areas which require maintenance work and are difficult to be accessed.”

Lead author Dimitar Dimov, a PhD student at the university, described the research as a first but crucial step “in the right direction to make a more sustainable construction industry for the future.” He said in the statement, “Finding greener ways to build is a crucial step forward in reducing carbon emissions around the world and so help protect our environment as much as possible.”

+ University of Exeter

+ Advanced Functional Materials

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