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Cements in the 21st century: Challenges, perspectives, and opportunities

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Since its widespread use in concrete began over 100 years ago, the chemical composition and physical properties of portland cement have changed only incrementally in response to various and competing pressures of constructability and cost. Instead, the construction demands have been met largely through the development and introduction of chemical admixtures that are added to the binder during mixing. These same demands persist into the 21st Century and are just as important now as before, yet newer driving forces are simultaneously pushing the industry both toward more automated construction and toward more sustainable concrete materials that generate lower CO2 and have longer service life. These new cement binder formulations and new construction technologies are expected to go well outside the bounds of traditional portland cement compositions and batching and placing practices. This study examines the origins of these new market demands and the influence they are having on the construction industry. Seven scientific or technological pathways are identified that will be critical for enabling the kinds of transformational changes in cement and concrete construction that the industry needs: (i) additive manufacturing, (ii) designer admixtures, (iii) curated materials data repositories, (iv) computationally designed composites, (v) big data and smart materials, (vi) alternative binder compositions, and (vii) next‐generation instrumentation.
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Keywords: 3‐D printing; CO2 emissions; additive manufacturing; admixtures; history; ordinary portland cement

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2017

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