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Concrete Alternative Spurs Startup

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

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Engineers from the University of Arizona say their new development, Acrete, is a lighter, stronger and less expensive alternative to Portland cement.

The material is formulated using triple the amount of fly ash, a waste product of coal-fired power plants, according to an announcement on the development.

Acrete
Univeristy of Arizona / Paul Tumarkin / Tech Launch Arizona

"Acrete can have as much as three times the compressive strength of cement and twice the flexural strength," says Tech Launch Arizona licensing manager Bob Sleeper, who collaborated with Zhang to protect and commercialize the invention.

"Once the technique developed at the University of Arizona is applied in industrial practice, it will substantially substitute concrete in the construction industry," says Inventor Jinhong Zhang, associate professor of mining and geological engineering. "It will save the impoundment space for fly ash and reduce CO2 emission during the production of cement.

“It will be a novel construction material for the new era for a sustainable development."

Why Fly Ash?

While fly ash serves as an additive in the production of Portland cement-based concrete products, it tends to make up only about 30 percent of the solid material, the university said. Alternatively, fly ash provides nearly 100 percent of the solids in Acrete for the end product without the addition of cement, the university announced.

“Acrete can have as much as three times the compressive strength of cement and twice the flexural strength,” Tech Launch Arizona licensing manager Bob Sleeper, who helped Zhang protect and commercialize the invention, says. “It repels water, and we can control the workability by tweaking the recipe.”

The university reports that U.S. coal-fired power plants produce about 130 million tons of fly ash every year, which are usually stored in mounds that take up large areas of land and can lead to high costs and environmental issues due to wind and erosion.

The university's Tech Launch said it is working with entrepreneur Abraham Jalbout in order to develop the product and bring it to the market.

   

Tagged categories: concrete; Concrete coatings and treatments; Construction; Research; Research and development

Comment from M. Halliwell, (3/14/2017, 10:46 AM)

(Tongue firmly in cheek) Great that the US will be able to use this tech....but Canada won't have coal fired plants in the not too distant future, so there won't be a source of fly ash. Might need to import fly ash from China if the Canadian and provincial governments hold their course.


Comment from Jeff Eiswerth, (3/14/2017, 1:48 PM)

How this "concrete" act and react to various coatings, stains, sealers, etc...?


Comment from Lou Lyras, (3/14/2017, 10:20 PM)

New development? The Romans have been using this for over two thousand years.


Comment from Fred Marschall, (3/16/2017, 11:32 AM)

Not sure if the Romans had Fly Ash. They used pumice as their pozzalan years ago.


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