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A five-year-long research conducted at UBC Okanagan's School of Engineering, Canada, has concluded that recycled concrete can perform as efficiently as conventional concrete, and in several cases, even better than it.
Waste originating from demolition and construction activities alone contribute to up to 40% of the world's total waste, which amounts to nine million tonnes per year in Canada. The study comes at a time when several countries have already standardized the use of recycled concrete in structural applications and the findings are expected to help Canada follow suit.
The compressive strength and durability of recycled concrete were analyzed and compared with conventional concrete. It was found that the recycled concrete had strength and durability comparable to conventional concrete even after being in service for five years.
Researchers held side-by-side comparisons of conventional and recycled concrete, keeping in view its two common applications—a building foundation and a municipal sidewalk.
Concrete is typically comprised of coarse or fine aggregate that is bonded together with an adhesive mixture. The recycled concrete substitutes the natural aggregate for producing new concrete.
The ingredients of the recycled concrete give it an additional flexibility and adaptability. Though recycled concrete is typically used in retaining walls, sidewalks, and roads, but there's an increased shift towards its use in structures.
Through the findings, the researchers unfurled that the performance of recycled concrete adequately compared to its conventional form in the long run, and faced no issues over the course of the study. Besides, the recycled concrete had a higher rate of compressive strength after 28 days of curing while maintaining a greater or equal strength throughout the research.
The researchers suggest that recycled concrete can be used as a substitute for non-structural applications without any hesitation. With more innovations in the composition of recycled concrete, it wouldn't be wrong to envision a time in the future where recycled concrete will be used as a substitute for structural applications as well.