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UCLA Team Given $1.5M for Cement Research

Thursday, August 22, 2019

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A team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, Samueli School of Engineering announced that it has just received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop 3D-printed concrete that incorporates carbon dioxide as part of a binder.

The research team will explore new alternative cements that could cut into the process’s carbon emissions by incorporating carbon dioxide into the manufacturing process of concrete. The resulting product could have a carbon footprint of 60% less than current products, according to the research team’s estimates.

The principal investigator of the grant is Mathieu Bauchy, a computational materials scientist and an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.

UCLA

A team of researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, Samueli School of Engineering announced that it has just received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to develop 3D-printed concrete that incorporates carbon dioxide as part of a binder.

“Concrete is by far the most manufactured material in the world, however, its large carbon footprint is a major detriment toward its continued use in its current form,” Bauchy said.

“This grant allows us to leverage recent developments in artificial intelligence and machine learning to design a more sustainable product. We aim to help construction—a conservative, empiricism-based industry—evolve into a knowledge- and data-intensive industry of the 21st century.”

The researchers will conduct simulations and carry out experiments focusing on three areas, including:

  • Understanding and controlling how slurries of cement flow to enable their use in 3D printing;
  • Figuring out how to maximize the amount of carbon dioxide being incorporated in this process; and
  • Using machine learning to discover new 3D-printed structures that will offer high load-bearing capabilities, while still being lightweight.

The grant will support graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, and will also allow the team to train undergraduate students.

The grant is part of the NSF’s Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future program.

Other faculty members on grant include Gaurav Sant, professor of civil and environmental engineering; Ximin He, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering; and Puneet Gupta, a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

In related research, Sant is leading a team that’s in the finals for a multi-million-dollar prize for turning carbon emissions from a coal-burning power plant into concrete-based building products.

Carbon Upcycling UCLA is one of 10 teams in the final round of the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE. The team plans to turn carbon dioxide from flue gas into pre-fabricated concrete blocks called “CO2Concrete.”

   

Tagged categories: Cement; concrete; Good Technical Practice; NA; North America; Research and development

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