New material reduces carbon footprint of concrete
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Sand is an important component in concrete, as well as in glass-making and computer chip manufacture. It may not seem like it, but sand is actually in short supply. The coarse sand needed for concrete manufacture is being excavated at a rate faster than it can renew itself. In fact, sand-mining is a multi-billion dollar industry. Illegal sand mining is a serious problem in countries such as India. Criminal gangs illegally strip coarse sand from riverbeds and beaches, damaging delicate ecosystems. In addition, the energy costs in transporting sand give concrete a very high carbon footprint. Now, a group of post-graduate students at London’s Imperial College are hoping to change this with a new material that is as strong as concrete but which is manufactured using a finer-grain of sand than that used in concrete.
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