An international team comprised of English, Spanish, and Brazilian researchers may have developed a new type of cement made from ceramic waste such as toilets, bathtubs, and basins. And the new mixture has the potential to be even stronger than conventional cement used worldwide. The team is also experimenting with a mixture that uses rice husks instead of chemical compounds, a process that would result in a cement made entirely from reclaimed waste materials.
To create the cement, scientists first grind up old ceramics and mix them with water and an activator solution, which currently uses sodium hydroxide or sodium silicate. This solution is then poured into a mold, and exposed to extreme heat, resulting in a solidified mixture. If the activator solution can be replaced with rice husk ash, it would take yet another material out of the waste stream, provide a way for suppliers generate additional income, and create cement made purely from recycled materials.
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The rice husk method has delivered positive results so far, but the team hasn’t been able to generate anything conclusive just yet. Tests on another mixture made with red clay brick have also proven that this new “green” cement could actually be stronger than other common types currently employed around the world.
Cement production is a major contributor to the unsustainable levels of CO2 across the planet, which would make a completely recycled variation a welcome addition to the industrial world. Not only would this particular type of cement reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it would also take a significant amount of waste material out of circulation and put it to better use.
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The full research team is made up of scientists from Universitat Politècnica de València, Universitat Jaume I de Castellón, Imperial College of London, and the Universidade Estadual Paulista of Sao Paulo in Brazil.
Via GizMag, TreeHugger
Images by Robert Wallace and Sedap via Flickr