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3rd Place, 2009

Environmentally Friendly Cements

Oscar Quintana, Civil and Materials Engineering

There is an increase in the demand to reduce environmental impact in the production of Portland cement (most widely used in construction worldwide). This leads to the development of new processes to reduce greenhouse gases in the production. However, the solution would be to come up with a new material that replaces Portland cement.

Working at Argonne National Laboratory in a joint project with UIC, I focused on the development and characterization of new eco-friendly materials for construction applications. My image shows the cross section of this new material, a composite MgO-CaSiO3 (matrix) reinforced with glass fiber (rounded shape sections sticking out located on the left lower part), in which CaSiO3 with elongated grains (cluster located on the center of the image) act as a reinforcement as well stopping possible cracks. This material has shown to have better mechanical properties than regular Portland cement and its commercialization is the primary goal of this project.