Cement Reductions

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Cement reduction

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Why concrete?

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Concrete is not really the first material you would think of when you are considering sustainable building materials. And actually, that’s true.
Common concrete possesses a huge amount of cement, which is responsible for a mass of carbon emissions. So, why do we not use wood, clay and bamboo or any other possibility of natural resources for a tiny building which has the need of a high structural strength or high durability against frost or corrosion?

Well, concrete can be much more than a bit of dirt with water. Concrete mixing can be compared to a cooking or baking in a very equipped kitchen. With enough ingredients, there are plenty of recipe possibilities. For example, cement can be reduced perfectly using different kinds of supplementary materials like ashes or naturally reactive powders and fines, called puzzolans. Fine materials like limestone powder can fill voids and produce a very dense and therefore durable concrete matrix. Clays – burnt correctly and called calcined clays – can be used instead of cement in huge amounts. Natural fibers make concrete more flexible and prevent cracks. The only problem is: We have to know where to get which materials and how to implement them in concrete mixtures.

In this project, it is not our aim to implement all these solutions. Even the ones we try out will not work perfectly. But we will experiment on the variety of concrete and see what could work and what not. This is bringing back the idea of education and engineering. We want to see what can work, learn about the material and consider ideas of how to deal with some of the global building challenges. Neither 100 % wood nor 100 % clay is a global building solution – so we have to figure out more. This project shall give some people an idea what other possibilities we might have to change and improve modern building materials for a world we all can live in.

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