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Researchers Discover Stronger Concrete by Adding Coffee Grounds: A Sustainable Solution to Environmental Concerns

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Researchers Discover Stronger Concrete with Coffee Grounds

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Introduction

Researchers in Australia have made a groundbreaking discovery – by adding coffee grounds to the cement mix, they were able to create concrete that is 30 percent stronger.

The Problem with Coffee Grounds

Every year, a staggering 10 billion kilograms of coffee grounds are left behind, most of which end up in landfills. This poses an environmental issue as organic waste disposal releases large amounts of greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change.

The Environmental Impact of Concrete

As the global construction market grows, so does the demand for concrete, which raises concerns about its resource-intensive nature. The mining of natural sand from river beds and banks, used to meet construction needs, has a significant impact on the environment and causes long-term conservation issues.

The Solution: Coffee Grounds as a Resource

To address both the coffee grounds waste problem and the environmental impact of concrete production, researchers at RMIT University developed a method to incorporate coffee grounds into the cement mix.

The Process of Incorporating Coffee Grounds

Organic products like coffee grounds cannot be added directly to concrete as they weaken the building materials. Instead, the researchers used a process called pyrolysis, where the coffee grounds were heated to over 350 degrees Celsius without oxygen. This resulted in the formation of biochar, a porous and carbon-rich char that can bond with the cement matrix.

Continued Research and Future Applications

While the researchers have achieved stronger concrete with coffee grounds, they still need to evaluate its long-term durability. They are conducting tests to assess its performance under freeze/thaw cycles, water absorption, and other stresses. Additionally, the team is exploring the production of biochar from other organic waste sources like wood, food, and agricultural waste.

Conclusion

This groundbreaking research offers a sustainable solution to both the coffee grounds waste problem and the environmental impact of concrete production. By incorporating coffee grounds into the cement mix, we can create stronger concrete while reducing the reliance on natural sand and minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Science Alert

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