MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub

MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub

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78% of pavement life cycle impact comes from the use phase.
78% of pavement life cycle impact comes from the use phase.
The most significant part of this use phase is pavement vehicle interaction, which includes roughness and deflection. Vehicles expend a significant amount of energy traversing imperfections like potholes and sinking into flexible pavements. In their new op-ed in The Hill, Randolph Kirchain and Hessam AzariJafari explain why the FHWA, DOTs, and MPOs, should consider road performance improvements in their metrics and investments.
Read the op-ed.
Due to the concrete delivery professional shortage, 70% of concrete producers had to turn away business.
Due to the concrete delivery professional shortage, 70% of concrete producers had to turn away business.

A special project funded by the Concrete Advancement Foundation explores both immediate and long-term strategies to address the national CDP shortage and transform the role of the CDP.

Read the report.
Flooding is both one of the most frequent and one of the most devastating natural disasters.
Flooding is both one of the most frequent and one of the most devastating natural disasters.

A majority of cities analyzed in a UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs report were found to be highly vulnerable to flood-related mortality (76%) and/or economic losses (72%). Even cities with low levels of flood exposure must take the hazard seriously: 26.5% of cities studied had low flood exposure but high flood-related mortality risk, 24.0% of cities studied had low flood exposure yet high flood-related economic risk.

Click to learn about our computationally inexpensive method to model flooding.
Carbon-cement supercapacitors…
Carbon-cement supercapacitors…

Could serve as a future solution to bulk energy storage, particularly for bulk energy storage for renewable sources like wind and solar. In a paper recently published in PNAS, a team led by Franz-Josef Ulm and Admir Masic explain their findings and their potential applications to charge electric vehicles, create energy autarkic shelters, and more.

Click to read more.
Carbon-neutral pavements are possible by 2050…
Carbon-neutral pavements are possible by 2050…

If government and industry actors come together to accelerate currently available solutions and pursue carbon capture technologies. Considering the performance limits, more than half of the material’s decarbonization way can be achieved without any innovative technologies. In addition to construction materials, achieving carbon neutrality in the pavement life cycle requires more than just materials. A range of use-phase components, including albedo, pavement-vehicle interaction, carbon uptake, and end-of-life opportunities, can provide significant opportunities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the life cycle of pavements.

Click to read more.
In the United States, infrastructure damage caused by natural hazards…
In the United States, infrastructure damage caused by natural hazards…

Exceeds 50 billion annually, with losses from earthquakes, hurricanes, and fire averaging around $6 billion, $28 billion, and $15 billion, respectively. And, moreover, these costs are trending upward. Such worsening losses, in both their social and economic dimensions, have shifted modern engineering attention towards resilience, which is the ability of infrastructure to recover to a similar or higher functionality level after hazard-induced damage.

Click to read more.
The consequences of America’s ailing infrastructure…
The consequences of America’s ailing infrastructure…

Are numerous. Besides causing uncomfortable ride quality, they can impose higher maintenance costs and even increase fuel consumption. Annually, poor roads in the U.S. cause vehicles to consume an extra 0.5 billion gallons of diesel and 1.6 billion gallons of gasoline. This extra fuel consumption amounts to 6.2 tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per mile.

Click to read more.
The U.S. pavement network…
The U.S. pavement network…

Can absorb 5.8 million tons of CO2 (around 5.5% of emitted CO2 from the cement used in pavements) over the next 30 years. The carbon uptake proportion of the use and end-of-life phase are in the same order. End of life abatement could be more cost-effective than carbon capture, use, and sequestration, with median costs ranging from $25–100/ton CO2 in the United States.

Click to read more.

The MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub makes key impacts in three areas:

Carbon Neutrality

Carbon neutral concrete is possible. Solutions are available today, and new ones are being developed for the future. One of the major goals of MIT CSHub is to help realize a carbon neutral concrete industry.

Infrastructure

Effective, sustainable infrastructure spending can improve system performance and impact climate change. MIT CSHub investigates how low carbon infrastructure may be built with very finite resources. 

Resilience

The risk of hazards like natural disasters and extreme heat is underestimated. Stronger construction to mitigate it is undervalued. MIT CSHub studies how cities can be made more resilient to hazards through investment in stronger, cooler construction.

Our mission:

The MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) is a dedicated interdisciplinary team of researchers from several departments across MIT working on concrete and infrastructure science, engineering, and economics since 2009. The MIT CSHub brings together leaders from academia, industry, and government to develop breakthroughs using a holistic approach that will achieve durable and sustainable homes, buildings, and infrastructure in ever more demanding environments.

Why study concrete sustainability?

More concrete is produced than any other material on Earth. In the foreseeable future, there is no other material that can replace concrete to meet our societies’ needs for housing, shelter, schools, and infrastructure. It is an inexpensive construction material with a relatively small environmental footprint, but its attractive properties have lead to massive use that contributes approximately 5% of global CO2 production.

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