Jun 24, 2019 | Updated: 11:41 AM EDT

Filipino Engineering Students Solidify the Win with Eco-friendly Cement

Apr 05, 2019 09:39 AM EDT

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The worldwide need for ecologically beneficial materials is growing at a rapid pace. Engineers, scientists, experts and activists are all giving their best efforts to prolong Earth's sustainability. And with the ecological need trying to be met by all, comes the ever-present human need for competition; after all competition has been known to bring out the best and the brightest, especially on an international level. That's just what happened at an eco-concrete competition organized by the American Concrete Institute or ACI, in Canada last month. A group of civil engineering students from the University of the Philippines won the international competition for developing an environment-friendly concrete that uses locally sourced materials.

The Philippine entry submitted by students Angelica Anne Munar, Ryan Christopher Ramelo, Paulo Santos and Alexis Declaro, replaced the traditional materials-gravel and cement-with recycled materials such as fly ash and waste glass combined with pozzolanic tuff. Pozzolanic tuff is a common type of porous rock found within and around the university campus.

"Rapid global urbanization boosts the demand for concrete at an unprecedented rate. This means that the environmental footprint of concrete production can no longer be ignored," the university said in its description of the invention. "The conventional concrete mix, which consists only of cement, gravel, sand and water, must be revisited to achieve environmental sustainability in the decision-making process," it added.

During the testing of the concrete, an average improvement of 23.9 percent was observed in its environmental performance. It was measured using five parameters: global warming, carcinogenic impact, ozone depletion, ecotoxicity and fossil fuel depletion. UP said further testing showed that the eco-concrete's strength and durability is comparable with regular concrete, proving that "an environmentally friendly yet strong and durable concrete can be produced."

The delegation to Canada was led by ACI Philippines chapter president Ramon Allado and director Froilan Martillano. The competition aims to promote the idea of environmental performance in concrete mix design as an important aspect of sustainability, according to ACI. "Teams thus have the mission to develop an innovative concrete mixture, which will have the lowest possible environmental impact while maintaining optimal mechanical and durability performances," it said. "To achieve this goal, teams are encouraged to seek out and use local resources of concrete materials such as supplementary cementitious materials or SCMs, alternative SCMs, fillers, recycled and alternative aggregates and other environment-friendly materials," it added.

The second and third prizes went to student teams from the Universidad de Cuenca in Ecuador and the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Poland, respectively.

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