The project was conducted as part of the Kuwait-MIT signature project on sustainability of Kuwait’s built environment for which Buyukozturk was the principal investigator.
Undergraduates share authorship In a second paper, which will soon appear in the ASCE Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, co-authors Chin and Maranda L.
However, the process of grinding volcanic ash down to such fine particles requires energy, which in turn increases the resulting structure’s embodied energy.
There is, then, a tradeoff between a concrete structure’s strength and its embodied energy, when volcanic ash is used.
“What we’ve found out is that concrete can be manufactured with natural additives with desired properties, and reduced embodied energy, which can be translated into significant energy savings when you are creating a neighborhood or a city,” Buyukozturk says.
The researchers focused on a neighborhood in Kuwait with 13 residential and 13 commercial buildings, all made with traditional Portland cement, mostly imported from Europe.
Such energy-intensive processes create a significant environmental footprint; the production of traditional Portland cement accounts for about 5 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.