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Environmentally-friendly cement stronger than traditional cement

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    Digital writers

    Friday, September 20, 2013, 3:45 PM -

    Researchers from Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen have found an ash/sugar cement mixture that appears to be stronger, and less crumbly, than traditional cement.

    Normally, cement is comprised of a clay/chalk mixture that is heated at high temperatures, releasing large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in the process.
    But "cement made with waste ash from sugar production is stronger than ordinary cement," the institute said in a statement on its website.

    "The research shows that the ash helps to bind water in the cement so that it is stronger, can withstand higher pressure and crumbles less. At the same time, energy is saved and pollution from cement production is reduced."

    The sugar/ash mixture was derived from countries that produce sugar kane.

    When sugar is extracted from the kane, it creates sugar and ash waste which some countries, like Cuba and Brazil, have already been adding to cement mixtures.

    Researchers say the discovery could have global implications, given the widespread use of cement as a building material.

    "The cement industry is huge and if they are to adopt a new idea, they need to have proof that it works," says  Heloisa Bordallo, a researcher in nanophysics at the Niels Bohr Institute. 

    "[Traditional] cement production uses a lot of energy ... [and] cement production accounts for 5 percent of global CO2 emissions. If you replace 20 percent of the content with ash, you are saving both CO2 emissions and raw materials, as you use 20 percent less by utilizing a waste product like ash."

    The complete paper can be found online at Nature.com.

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