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Engineering Materials

Corn, Wheat & Rice Trash Make Concrete Stronger

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Elizabeth M
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Re: Interesting use of these resources
Elizabeth M   4/16/2013 3:51:02 AM
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Thanks for those links, Ann. I do remember reading your previous coverage, but always good to jog the memory, as one reads about so much. It's good to see this successful model being used and reused.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Replenish the Soil?
Ann R. Thryft   4/16/2013 11:54:33 AM
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You're absolutely right about "specific chemical requirements," which is what I said. But there's cellulosic and then there's cellulosic: they're by no means all the same. And the stuff we're writing about here is not leaf mold--which, BTW, can also vary widely in chemical content (for example, high tannin content in oak leaves).
Depending on its chemical composition, some cellulosic material adds nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil, some takes those out, and some doesn't do anything nutritionally, but does add bulk and loft, which is not always needed or wanted, BTW. The stuff being recycled here doesn't add much in the way of nutrients and/or can leach it out. It can also cause rot problems. This is a complex subject, which we touched on in the DuPont article. Check it out.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Corn, Wheat & Rice Trash Make Concrete Stronger
Ann R. Thryft   4/16/2013 11:56:04 AM
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Thanks, Greg, for those examples. Mud brick goes back at least as far as ancient Mesopotamia in the Near East.

j-allen
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Concrete fillers
j-allen   4/16/2013 2:02:26 PM
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When I was in grad school the civil engineers would enter the annual concrete canoe contest where the teams would have to build a canoe entirely out of conrete and then race it against those of other teams.  Most broke up or sank before the finish line, but the builders did use unusual fillers to reduce the density.  One mix had a specific gravity of just 0.75, about equal to oak, and it had an amazing tensile strength, almost  two percent that of oak. 

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Good use of waste
Rob Spiegel   4/16/2013 4:22:03 PM
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You're right, Ann, that second generation of biofuels isn't getting the same coverage as the first generation. It's good to see this new industry is turning to non-food crops grown on non-food-ready soil.

William K.
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Re: Concrete fillers
William K.   4/16/2013 5:19:25 PM
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Evidently this ash is much different from "just a filler", used to reduce density. Foam peanuts are a filler that reduces density but does not add strength. The ash somehow enters into the chemical structure, which is totally different.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Concrete fillers
Ann R. Thryft   4/16/2013 5:40:19 PM
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William's got a very good point: there's a big difference between filler and an ingredient that chemically changes the mix. That's what this ash is: an ingredient that chemically changes the mix.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Good use of waste
Ann R. Thryft   4/16/2013 5:43:32 PM
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Thanks for seconding my point about second-generation fuels, Rob. That's the correct term to use, and it was invented to distinguish them from those based on food-based crops (among other things).

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Concrete fillers
Ann R. Thryft   4/17/2013 12:51:26 PM
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j-allen, on first reading, your story about concrete canoes sounds like a cross between a Mafia movie and one about college students' jokes. OTOH, I know these things are real, because there's a cement ship on the beach south of the Santa Cruz harbor. According to the local history I've heard, this one was originally built as a supply ship in 1918, and then got towed over here to become an entertainment spot.
Here's the history:
http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_17234906
and here's a better photo (scroill down a ways):
http://www.beachcalifornia.com/cement-ship-seacliff-beach.html



Charles Murray
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Re: Concrete fillers
Charles Murray   4/17/2013 6:50:58 PM
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Wow...corn, wheat and trash replace Portland Cement AND the concrete becomes stronger? I never woulda thunk it.

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