Researchers at Flinders University, Flinders University and Birmingham City University are developing a 'value add' approach for old broken concrete for 'upcycling' coarse aggregate to produce a strong, durable and workable concrete using graphene.
The scientists have tested results using a weak graphene solution on recycled aggregates to produce concrete potentially superior to untreated recycled aggregates in cement-based mixtures.
Such methods are vital for waste management as demolition and construction waste products are expected to rising globally. At the same time, the production of concrete is adding to climate change with greenhouse gas emissions and extraction methods adding to the ecological impacts. Improving the quality of recycled concrete aggregates will also play a vital role in the quality, performance and workability of recycled concrete aggregates while reducing the environmental footprints.
"This new form of treated recycled concrete aggregates may be more expensive to make right now, but when considering circularity and the life cycle of the materials, the costs are coming down rapidly," says Flinders University's Dr. Aliakbar Gholampour, the first author of the article.
Dr. Gholampour, Senior Lecturer in Civil and Structural Engineering at Flinders, says the new method's success could also help to meet increasing demand for building materials around the world.
Dr. Gholampour has filed a patent for the approach, with University of Melbourne co-author and Senior Research Fellow Dr. Massoud Sofi, who is Deputy Director (Research) at the Center for Recovered Resources (CoRR).