At Purdue University, researchers are adding cellulose nanocrystals derived from wood fiber to concrete. Nano-reinforced materials typically outperform conventional alternatives across a range of mechanical and chemical properties—among them strength, impact resistance, and flexibility. When applied to construction materials like concrete, they help to reduce a structure’s environmental footprint by requiring less material to achieve a similar effect. The nanocrystal additive can be extracted as a by-product of industrial agriculture, bioenergy, and paper production. Its addition enhances the concrete-curing process, the researchers say, allowing the concrete to use water more efficiently and without impacting its weight or density significantly. Construction materials are among the target applications for the additive, Purdue associate professor Jeffrey Youngblood says, but the team is still working to scale it up from current dimensions of 1 foot tall by 6 inches in diameter, assessing data to standardize and optimize the material’s behavior. “We hope to be at a large test scale in a few years,” he says.
Know more at http://bit.ly/BrochureSmartMaterials