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October 2nd, 2010
From the Romans to the Jetsons, concrete is versatile
Today, research is developing scientific breakthroughs at the atomic scale.
Two emerging areas of research deal with cement and admixtures.
Understanding of the hydration of cement particles and their interaction with chemical admixtures, combined with the use of nano-sized particles (one billionth of a meter) help to design modifications so that performance requirements can be met using less material.
Also, the chemical reactions that take place can be manipulated for maximum environmental and economic benefit.
While nanotechnology sounds like the science of the future, dozens of nanomaterials are currently available in the architectural marketplace.
You may be familiar with the de-polluting or "smog eating" concrete used in Richard Meier's Jubilee Church, which used titanium dioxide nanoparticles to make this marvel possible.
Using light and air, photocatalytic concrete breaks down organic and inorganic substances responsible for air pollution.
However, you don't need to be a nanotechnologist to take advantage of the many sustainable benefits that concrete offers.
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