Tech

Scientists replace cement with polymer

Cement is the main component, the connective tissue of any construction process, but scientists have already begun to calculate the damage of its production to the environment and greenhouse gas emissions...

Researchers at Flinders University are trying to optimize the concept of recycling industrial waste by carrying out an astonishing transformation. They were able to produce a new type of polymer that can be used to bond bricks. In fact, the most revolutionary thing about this type of material is that it does not require mortar or adhesives, because it has a high adhesion efficiency and stands firmly on surfaces.

The scientists say the new polymer was created from industrial waste and developed through a whole new recycling process. To create the polymer, wood, old tires, and even sulfur, which is waste from industrial processes, were used. So far, the basis of this polymer is rapeseed oil, which is obtained from kitchen waste, and dicyclopentadiene mixed with sulfur. Combinations of sulfur and DCPD arrive as waste materials from the oil refining industry, after which all these elements are heated, formed into bricks, and can then be used in construction processes. Technically, the process of creating this material is much more sustainable than the production of cement.

Professor Justin Chalker, who is also an author of this research, says: “The amino catalysts are sprayed onto the surface of the material. The catalyst causes S-S (sulfur-sulfur) bonds to form in the brick, rearranging the composition and bonding the two bricks together. A catalyst is needed to start the reaction and it evaporates from the brick immediately after curing.”

Numerous tests have been done on these polymer bricks and it has been proven that they are much more efficient, lighter, and more resistant to bad weather conditions than conventional bricks. The researchers added carbon fiber to these bricks to give them strength and ultimately give them sixteen times the average durability.

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