Meta AI and university researchers discover stronger, more carbon-friendly concrete formulas

Jimmy2x

Posts: 103   +8
Staff
Forward-looking: Concrete is undoubtedly one of the most frequently used building materials in the world. Known for its durability and sustainability, the compound can be subject to failure due to factors such as erosion and disintegration, which directly affects its overall strength. Researchers from the University of Illinois have teamed up with Meta AI to develop an artificial intelligence to create, refine, and test new formulas resulting in higher concrete strengths while simultaneously lowering carbon requirements.

The Meta team worked with Professors Lav Varshney and Nishant Garg from the University of Illinois to conduct the initial model's training using the Concrete Compressive Strength data set. The data set, which includes more than 1,000 formulas, their attributes, and corresponding strength data, provided the basis for reviewing the new mixture's properties according to the Cement Sustainability Initiative's tools and standards.

The team's research resulted in the selection of several potential formulas that would undergo further review, testing, and refinement until they surpassed standard strength metrics while dropping carbon requirements by up to 40%. This reduction is no small feat and represents a significant decrease in the material's overall carbon footprint. The billions of tons of concrete produced worldwide can account for up to 8% of the world's annual global CO2 emissions.

Concrete typically consists of cement, aggregate, water, and other agents known as admixture. Of the four, cement typically represents the most carbon-intensive ingredient of the mixture. The ability to train the AI greatly accelerates the ability to test and review the use of other aggregates and ratios capable of attaining the desired compound properties while using less cement.

The advancements in concrete formulation represent one more real-world application for artificial intelligence and machine learning platforms, which have already proven beneficial in solving many of today's challenges. Last year, scientists from Harvard and Nvidia teamed up to develop deep learning toolkits to increase the overall efficiency in rare and single-cell experiments. Sony AI's FlavorGraph, which was developed following Google Cloud AI's guest appearance on the Great British Bakeoff, uses information at the molecular level to identify and map ingredient pairings. As technology advances, it's likely we'll see AI contributing to more and more of our daily lives and the world around us.

Image credit: Stone computer by anaterate

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Ludak021

Posts: 710   +532
"Concrete is a mixture of cement, air, water, sand, and gravel–it's as simple as that!

since this is not carbon friendly enough... :D
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,216   +4,268
Good: Maybe Meta will be able to offset a little tiny part of the emissions that will be generated with their NFTs.
 
The production of cement releases a lot of carbon dioxide. It requires heating limestone (or other rocks high in calcium carbonate) to about 2000 degrees to produce calcium oxide, otherwise known as lime. The lime is then combined with sand to make cement.

The decomposition of calcium carbonate releases one molecule of carbon dioxide for every molecule of lime..

Then there is the carbon dioxide produced when heating tons of limestone to >2000 degrees.

Pretty much a double whammy...
 

ChrisH1

Posts: 198   +99
When I did engineering, the simplistic rule we were given was 'it takes a ton and a half of coal to make a ton of concrete'.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,530   +5,401
I'm a member of the OPCMIA and work all over the US doing concrete, mainly bridges, this article is objectively false. And it's "portland", not cement. Cement is Portland and sand, concrete is Portland, sand and aggregate. It should be river rock but they've been using limestone for the last 10 years because river rock has become prohibitively expensive
When I did engineering, the simplistic rule we were given was 'it takes a ton and a half of coal to make a ton of concrete'.
I don't know how much coal it takes to create Portland, but 1 ton of concrete is a small about of concrete. That said, firing limestone to Create Portland takes a stupid about of energy. You're basically charing stone. But the curing of concrete puts out LOTS of CO2. Concrete doesn't dry, it cures. On large pours you feel the heat coming off of it as the protland and water react
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 2,027   +1,231
I'm a member of the OPCMIA and work all over the US doing concrete, mainly bridges, this article is objectively false. And it's "portland", not cement. Cement is Portland and sand, concrete is Portland, sand and aggregate. It should be river rock but they've been using limestone for the last 10 years because river rock has become prohibitively expensive
I don't know how much coal it takes to create Portland, but 1 ton of concrete is a small about of concrete. That said, firing limestone to Create Portland takes a stupid about of energy. You're basically charing stone. But the curing of concrete puts out LOTS of CO2. Concrete doesn't dry, it cures. On large pours you feel the heat coming off of it as the protland and water react
So much heat that larger pours often require heat sinks to be installed into the middle of it, so that it can actually cool and cool evenly - or it may not cure at all. The Hoover Dam is one such project, and was no small feat. Not just its size, but cooling the pours in the middle of a desert, too.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,530   +5,401
So much heat that larger pours often require heat sinks to be installed into the middle of it, so that it can actually cool and cool evenly - or it may not cure at all. The Hoover Dam is one such project, and was no small feat. Not just its size, but cooling the pours in the middle of a desert, too.
I've never seen cooling pipes installed in large projects, but I have used chemicals that slow the reaction down or special chemistries of concrete need to be poured and cooled with water on evaporative blankets for about 30 days. One of the most interesting applications that I've seen was that the weather had to stay between 42 and 75 freedom units and cooled with blankets. This is memorable because it went to about 80 degrees freedom for over 48 hours and they ended up demoing that portion of the bridge
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,530   +5,401
Just give us better cement and stop fretting over CO2. I hear the trees love it!
Degradation Of concrete mainly deteriorates in the presence of Salt, Acid rain or the corrosion of epoxy coated rebar. Naturally, cities have more acidic rain that the out standing counties, but it's high enough in the atmosphere it doesn't really matter.

Salt is the most annoying to me because we need it and people b**** that it kills the masonry around their house. We'll, it's a safty hazard to not salt your property so move below the rust belt if you don't like it.

The least talked about one is epoxy coated rebar. Normal rebar rusts and expands over time, too, but the epoxy coatings have a really interesting issue.

To put it simply, concrete is a sponge and has pours in it. Water can get in and out of concrete once it has cured. Epoxy coated rebar gets scratches in the coatings and, through capillary action, gets under the epoxy layer and accelerates the rust cycle. Once between the rebar and the epoxy, the moister has nowhere to go so instead of the water being wicked away by the spongy concrete, it sticks in the impermeable layer of the epoxy. Epoxy coated rebar is illegal to use on some projects for this reason.

Once the epoxy starts creating layers of iron oxide(rust) inside the concrete, it takes off like a wild fire. It doesn't stop until the pressure from the iron oxide layers expand so much that the tensile strength of the concrete fails and pops off exposing the rusted rebar undeneath.

when using additives, like fiber glass(you can't use fiberglass reinforced concrete alongside rebar for this reason). because it prevents the popping off of the rusted areas of the rebar in the structure and exposing damage. They actually HIDE the damage.

And to all the engineers who are reading this right now, Concrete is meant to be kept in COMPRESSION, not in tension. Keeping internal damage hidden with things like fiberglass or carbon fiber is DANGERIOUS.