Concrete Additives

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By jgkellogg21
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Concrete is the most widely used material in the world. It accounts for roughly 70% of all construction materials globally. Each year about “7 cubic kilometers of concrete are made” (The Civil Engineer). It is a $35 billion industry with more than two million workers in the United States alone (The Civil Engineer). Concrete is made up of cement, water, and chemical admixtures. Portland cement is the most common cement used in concrete. Fly ash, slag cement, sand, or gravel limestone may also be used to create concrete. Due to hydration, the concrete solidifies and hardens after mixing with the water. Concrete is used to make parking structures, roads, foundations, walls, and many other structures (Encyclopedia Britannica Online Academic Edition).
Even though concrete is already such a highly used material, there is still room for improvements. Traditional concrete can have many problems including failure under heavy loads, lack of durability, and the cost of repair resulting from failure. Concrete can also be very heavy at times. For example, when designing a bridge the large weight of the asphalt must be accounted for in order to design the supports. In the 1990’s, a group of researchers from the University of Michigan discovered a new form of concrete called bendable concrete. This new mixture is also referred to as Engineered Cementous Composite (ECC). This was achieved by adding stretchable fibers that are embedded in the concrete. Dr. Victor Li was the head of the operation in the new discovery. Li was not the first to use fibers within concrete. Fibers have been used in concrete for more than 30 years, but the key to ECC was the type of polymer he used (The American Ceramic Society). ECC looks like regular concrete, but acts differently. While under excessive strain, ECC gives due to the network of fibers throughout the cement (Li 215).…...

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