Concrete is a mixture of sand, rocks, water, and cement that is then poured into any shape. Over time, it hardens into a rock-like substance. One of the main ingredients is cement, which is produced from limestone and clay. Ordinary Portland Cement is the most commonly used type. This cement is made by heating three parts limestone to one part clay and grinding the mixture until it becomes a fine powder.
Concrete is a durable building material, resulting in buildings and structures that will last for generations. Compared to wood, which can rot and be subject to natural disasters, concrete is maintenance-free and can withstand the harshest weather conditions. It can even stand up to fires. This means fewer resources are required for construction projects, which is good news for the environment.
Concrete also provides an improved driving surface, which reduces the amount of fuel that a car needs to travel. This means that vehicles will use less fuel, reducing emissions. Researchers are currently working on ways to make concrete even more environmentally friendly, including carbon-absorbing cement and flexible concrete that can repair itself. These technologies will reduce the need for new materials and will improve safety.
Concrete also has many other environmental benefits, ranging from saving water to reducing waste. According to a study by Formoso, C. T., the production of concrete reduces the amount of material that enters landfills. Moreover, it produces little excess material, which makes it easier to recycle.
The use of concrete in the construction industry is one of the fastest growing industries. Countries in Africa and Asia continue to push for new construction projects, while nations in Europe and the Americas are updating aging infrastructure. These new construction projects could further increase the use of concrete. But it is crucial that manufacturers improve the way the material is manufactured.
Another benefit of concrete is that it promotes better indoor air quality. This is particularly important in public and educational buildings. Concrete is non-porous, which means that it does not absorb harmful airborne particles. And because it is smoother to roll, concrete also promotes better fuel economy. Moreover, it has a higher reflectivity than asphalt, which means that buildings will be cooler.
Another concrete environmental benefit is that it reduces CO2 emissions. Carbon dioxide emissions are directly proportional to the amount of cement in the concrete mix. A ton of cement emits 900 kg of CO2, which accounts for 88% of the emissions from an average concrete mix. Carbon emissions are generated both directly by the cement manufacturing process and indirectly from the combustion of fossil fuels.
Concrete pavements also reduce the time vehicles spend in traffic. A typical lane closure lasts no more than six hours, and concrete pavements are generally ready for use within four hours. This means fewer cars on the road and lower emissions from autos.