Concrete involves aggregates, that consists of strong bonding of water and cement. Aggregate is a structural material consisting of a hard, chemically inert particulate substance. The strong bonding of cement and water leads to the strength of the concrete.

According to the World Health Organization, almost seven million premature deaths of people worldwide happens due to poor air quality and pollution. And Sulfur dioxide emissions are among the most common pollutants into the air globally. Generally, power plants and concrete construction waste produce approximately 20 percent of all sulfur dioxide industrial emissions.

According to a new research, if sulfur dioxide, a major contributor to air pollution, is removed from the concrete construction waste, we could get rid of air of sulfur dioxide.

Concrete Construction Waste Can Help Rid The Air Of Sulfur Dioxide
This electron microscopy image of concrete includes a model of sulfur dioxide interactions with concrete surface – represented by the colored spheres.
Credit: Marija Illoska

Stony Brook University researcher Alex Orlov, Ph.D., and colleagues discovered how concrete interacts and eliminates sulfur and nitrogen oxides.

Dr. Orlov, Associate Professor of Materials Science and Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences explained, “Even though producing concrete causes air pollution, concrete buildings in urban areas can serve as a kind of sponge absorbing sulfur dioxide to a high level.”

“Our findings open up the possibility that waste concrete coming from building demolitions can be used to absorb these pollutants.”

“Concrete remains the most widely used material in the world and is inexpensive. Thus, the strategy of using pollution causing the material and turning it into an environmental solution could lead to new thinking in urban design and waste management.”

“The capacity for concrete to absorb pollutants diminishes over time as the material ages. Crushing concrete, however, can expose new surfaces and restore its pollution removing properties.”

Scientists used various cement and cement-based building materials to conduct their experiments. They also employed Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (DRIFTS) and X-ray Absorption Near Edge Spectroscopy (XANES) to identify the levels of sulfur dioxide adsorption on the materials.

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