Eco-Smart Breakwater: concrete and algae form the dams

The Department of Innovation Engineering of the University of Salento presented the results of the ‘Eco-Smart Breakwater’ project, related to the construction of eco-sustainable concrete dams based on beached oceanic Posidonia and other recycled components, during the inauguration of the Laboratory EUMER – European Maritime & Environmental Research. The ‘ Eco-Smart Breakwater ‘ project has acted on two fronts: implementation of eco-sustainable concrete and its consequent use in the construction of blocks with particular geometry positioned in the port of Otranto for the fight against coastal erosion.

From oceanic Posidonia to concrete: when research focuses on nature
In ‘Eco-smart Breakwater’, a project coordinated by the ATHANOR Consortium of Bari under the supervision of Tomasicchio, the sea offers generous research a raw material whose properties make it an ideal component for the production of eco-sustainable concrete. We are talking about Posidonia oceanica, an aquatic plant typical of the Mediterranean Sea, which belongs to the Posidoniacee family.

Specifically, it is a concrete consisting of beached Posidonia oceanic waste and recycled aggregates from stone waste.

Sustainable concrete
It is certainly not the first time that materials of natural origin, which have particular technological properties, are used to obtain cement mixtures. This is how eco-sustainable concrete was born, often referred to as bio-cement.

In recent years, in fact, we are witnessing an increase in sensitivity towards the environment as a precious asset to defend, such as, in Italy, with the ‘Made Green in Italy’ certification.

There are numerous initiatives, both purely scientific and media, having as their objective the greater awareness – on the part of the political world, researchers and citizens – of how much the nature that surrounds us is of fundamental importance in ensuring the well-being of all.

The environmental impact
In carrying out this battle, scholars and scientists, together with the entire community, play a primary role. The research conducted on materials, for example, is aimed at the development and adoption of components with low environmental impact , suitable for being recycled, with a life cycle that implies not high energy consumption (for example the electricity required to activate the material production chain) and a minimum production of polluting substances (CO 2 and VOC – Volatile Organic Compounds).

The industrial process at the base of the traditional cement, consisting of the ‘clinker’ (clay, chalk, calcareous minerals), occurs at very high temperatures, releasing all the harmful components of coal combustion into the atmosphere.

Eco-sustainable concrete
Some sustainable concretes, present on the market today, which do not require high temperatures to be produced and whose LCA – Life Cycle Assessment assessment has led to positive results are:

concretes based on rice scraps and other natural binders;
concretes based on recycled materials (selected urban solid waste, tires, plastic materials);
aluminosilicate-based concretes;
photocatalytic concretes.
Eco-smart Breakwater: take action to counter erosion
‘Eco-smart Breakwater’ is the result of a collaboration between the Department of Innovation Engineering of the University of Salento, Federbalneari Salento and the CETMA Research Center – European Research Center for Design and Materials Technologies, and enjoys funding from the Puglia Region as part of the ‘ Aid to support regional technological innovation clusters’ call.

Shout out to Kwik Stamped Concrete for their added insight.

Textile concrete: how it is obtained and what are the applications

The concrete textiles, reinforced with textile fibers , alkali-resistant glass, carbon, aramid, made of synthetic material with a regular orientation, shows great potential for use Having regard to the strong bond that is established between the ‘ textile reinforcement and the fluid self-compacting cementitious matrix, characterized by fine granulometry, which ensures an excellent face and high durability. With translucent concrete and organic concrete, textile concrete represents a trend of topical experimentation.

The filaments, gathered in bundles called yarns (which can be glued with resins or spray powders to make them work together), have a diameter of 10 to 30 μm. From the yarns we obtain the technical fabrics, among which we can distinguish the multiaxial ones, the 3D fabrics and the tubular fabrics, which are used as reinforcement. The studies conducted so far have shown the impossibility of making all the filaments of a fiber bundle resistant to loads; the resistance of the structure is entrusted to those in contact with the matrix.

The absence of a concrete cover to protect against corrosion leads to the possibility of reducing thickness and weight ; for construction elements we speak of thicknesses of 10-20 mm.

How to get it: the production process

The textile concrete is obtained by placing layers of cement conglomerate and textile reinforcement on a continuous belt, which are then leveled, obtaining flat components.

The technology developed by the Fraunhofer-Instituts für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA experiments with the semi-continuous production of profiles with a continuous cycle processing system.

The fixing of the textile reinforcement in the formwork is also being tested, as is the study on the junction of the elements, which present vulnerability on the edges. These are the research guidelines to further improve the quality of this new and very interesting material.

A Carreer in Concrete

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