An MSU professor has big news for the cement world. Any average citizen who doesn’t think that includes him, should just look around. Cement is everywhere. And now, thanks to a recent local experiment, future cement can be more durable and significantly more environmentally friendly. Dr. Parviz Soroushian of MSU’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department was approached by the
MSU Physical Plant
four years ago to come up with ways to utilize recycled glass – the least recycled material in municipal solid waste streams.
Soroushian discovered that when replacing about 20 percent of the cement in concrete with mixed-color waste glass, the production created a 20 percent smaller carbon footprint, solving two environmental issues at once. Considering the production of cement accounts for six percent of all carbon dioxide emissions worldwide, the impact could be enormous.
“The amorphous silica in glass enters beneficial chemical reactions with cement hydrates,” says Soroushian. “Recycled glass concrete would thus offer improved durability characteristics and moisture resistance when compared with normal concrete.”
The winning combination isn’t just theoretical. Test sites have been in existence for about three years, including sidewalks outside of the MSU Surplus Store and Recycling Center, south of the Breslin Student Events Center and near Fee and Hubbard halls.
The next step, according to Soroushian, is to introduce the new cement mix to mainstream construction projects on campus.
“We are now assembling a team,” Soroushian says, “with the objective of using recycled glass concrete on MSU campus on a routine basis.”