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Title: "Does your concrete need vitamin C?: Naturally occurred compounds as next generation “green” additive for concrete"

Jialai Wang is a professor at the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering (CCEE); the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa.

Worldwide, over 25 billion tons of concrete are being produced each year. Such volumes require vast amounts of natural resources for aggregate and ordinary Portland cement (OPC) production. In addition, production of the cement needed for concrete not only consumes large amount of energy, but also generates about 7% of nation’s total CO2 emission. To reduce the carbon footprint of OPC based concrete, this research explores naturally occurring compounds as small-dose additives to significantly enhance the efficiency of OPC – requiring less cement to achieve a specified strength or reduce the total amount of concrete required for a specific construction process due to improved strength. Our recent study discovers that some plant-based functional molecules can be used to enhance the mechanical properties of concrete up to 80% through compacting hydration products of OPC (i.e., reducing pores) by complexing or cross-linking these products at multi-binding sites. In addition, these naturally occurred compounds can inhibit the corrosion of steel embedded within the concrete, leading to longer service life of the structure. These natural chemical compounds have enormous potential to be used as the next generation of additive for concrete because of their salient features: low-cost, renewable, ubiquitous, and nontoxic.

Wang is a CCEE professor at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. His research interests are in the areas of sustainable infrastructural materials, nanotechnology and its applications in civil engineering materials, thermal energy storage and adaptive building envelope, and living materials for well-being of built environments.

Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 3:40pm to 4:55pm

John D. Tickle Engineering Building, 405
851 Neyland Dr, Knoxville, TN 37996

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations




Current Students, Faculty & Staff, General Public


CEE Seminar, CEE Fall 2019


Civil and Environmental Engineering

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