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Old toilets recycled into new "green" cement

By

April 3, 2014

Unwanted toilets may soon have new life, as a component of cement  (Photo: Shutterstock)

Unwanted toilets may soon have new life, as a component of cement (Photo: Shutterstock)

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An international team of researchers has discovered a potential new use for discarded toilets, along with other ceramic waste such as basins, stoneware and bricks. It turns out that they can be made into a more eco-friendly form of cement.

To make the cement, ceramic waste is ground up, then mixed with an activator solution and water. The resulting mixture is then poured into a mold, and subjected to a high-temperature hardening process.

In tests conducted with items made from red clay brick waste, the cement was actually stronger than types that are currently in common use. The strength of cement made with other forms of ceramic waste is still being evaluated.

Samples of the cement, made from recycled red clay bricks

Sodium hydroxide or sodium silicate have been used as the activators so far, although the researchers are reportedly getting promising results using rice husk ash. If it could be used, then the result would be a cement made entirely from reclaimed waste materials. Not only would this keep discarded ceramics and rice husks out of the waste stream, but it could also provide a source of revenue for groups providing the material.

Additionally, it could be used as an alternative to Portland cement, which is the world's most widely used form of cement. Production of Portland cement releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, and as such the material is considered a major contributor to global warming.

The research is being conducted by Spain's Universitat Politècnica de València and Universitat Jaume I de Castellón, Imperial College of London, and the Universidade Estadual Paulista of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Source: Asociación RUVID (Spanish)

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
1 Comment

Cool tech too bad it is being attached to the nonsense about C02 causing climate change.

Slowburn
4th April, 2014 @ 08:55 pm PDT
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