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Carrots for stronger concrete

According to Lancaster University research, concrete mixtures can be strengthened by adding nano-particles from root vegetables.

According to research by the University of Lancaster in England, concrete mixes can be strengthened by adding nano-particles from carrots and other root vegetables. Preliminary tests conducted by the university's engineers showed that the nanoparticles from the fibers of these plants increased the strength of the concrete at a low cost. The University has funded £ 195,000 (1 million 630 thousand Lira) from the European Union's Horizon 2020 program to conduct further research in this area. The results are expected to reduce carbon emissions in the construction industry.

New cement reduces energy consumption

"These new cement nano-compounds are made by combining ordinary Portland cement with nano-particles from waste-root vegetables from the food industry," said Professor Mohamed Saafi, who runs the project. In addition to being superior to existing cement products in terms of their mechanical and microstructure properties, the compounds use less cement at the same time. This reduces energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions during cement production, "he says.

When the concrete is stronger it is possible to use less than the concrete used in a building normally built at the same size. Even if there is a small decrease in the amount, this can have a big impact because about 8 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions come from cement production. Carbon dioxide emerges as a byproduct of a chemical transformation occurring during cement production. This process also requires the cement to be heated to very high temperatures. Fossil fuels are usually used for heating.

Better than all existing cements

In Lancaster University's early work, the nano particles of root vegetables, which increased the amount of calcium silicate hydrate that gave concrete strength, outperformed all other cement additives. Other additives include graphite and carbon nanotubes.

Engineers succeeded in achieving the same rigidity by using 40 kg less Portland cement on a cubic meter of concrete. Now researchers working in partnership with Cellucomp, a company that produces sustainable materials, aim to make this work available in everyday life. Cellucomp had previously produced the additive substance Curran from the fibers of the root plants.

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