Cambridge Collaboration

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MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub enters a second decade set to further frame criteria driving building and construction decisions

Having secured another five-year industry commitment through 2024, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Concrete Sustainability Hub (MIT CSHub) is prepared to take its innovative research to the next level in revolutionizing the way building and construction design decisions are made.

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Report qualifies life cycle aspect of robust construction methods

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A new Portland Cement Association report presents historical data, evidence from external sources, and structural material comparisons supporting the premise: Cast-in-place or precast concrete, or concrete masonry construction methods lead to longer lasting buildings owing to their ability to stand up to normal wear and tear plus resistance to extreme weather events.

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Life-cycle perspective backs report on critical issues in building practices

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A new report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-hosted Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub), Critical Issues When Comparing Whole Building and Building Product Environmental Performance, addresses key concepts in quantifying the environmental impact of buildings and products comprising them. It also makes recommendations for current and future building practices using life cycle assessment (LCA), and offers suggestions for research to advance future study and practice.

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Marine species represent blueprints for stronger, more durable concrete

Sources: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge; CP staff

In a project funded by outside parties and independent of the Concrete Sustainability Hub, MIT researchers are seeking to redesign concrete by following nature’s blueprints, contrasting cement paste with the structure and properties of bones, shells, and deep sea sponges. As they observe in a current Construction and Building Materials paper, such biological materials are exceptionally strong and durable, thanks in part to their precise assembly of structures at multiple length scales, from the molecular to the macro, or visible, level.

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MIT researchers: New microstructure modeling spells better concrete

30 Cube 150

To further understand concrete’s microscopic structure and behavior, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgetown University, France’s CNRS and peer institutions on both sides of the Atlantic have focused on the principal binder: Is calcium silicate hydrate a continuous solid, like metal or stone, or an aggregate of small particles? Their finding that solidified CSH is a “bit of both” could inform new approaches to lowering mix designs’ water volume and finished structures’ permeability.

 
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MIT researchers: New microstructure models spell better concrete

Sources: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge; CP staff

To further understand concrete’s microscopic structure and behavior, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Georgetown University, France’s CNRS and peer institutions on both sides of the Atlantic have focused on whether the principal binder, calcium silicate hydrate, is a continuous solid, like metal or stone, or an aggregate of small particles. Their finding that solidified CSH is a “bit of both” could inform new approaches to lowering mix designs’ water volume and finished structures’ permeability.

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Pavement, materials specialist named Concrete Sustainability Hub co-director

Sources: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge; CP staff

An engineer who researches the environmental and economic implications of materials selection in the manufacture and lifespan of products, Randolph Kirchain has been named co-director of the MIT-hosted Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) alongside Franz-Joseph Ulm, professor of Civil Engineering.

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MIT researchers model stronger cement on theory behind Corning Gorilla Glass

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Borrowing from a “rigidity theory” that led Corning Inc. engineers to the high-performance Gorilla Glass, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-hosted Concrete Sustainability Hub is studying potential portland cement reformulation aimed at higher fracture resistance than current ASTM C 150 product.

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