Power Plant Concrete Strengthens With Time
As they say, do as the Romans do.
A rare mineral that has allowed Roman concrete marine barriers to survive for more than 2,000 years has been found in the thick concrete walls of a decommissioned nuclear power plant in Japan.
Ippei Maruyama - an environmental engineer at Nagoya University - and his colleagues found the mineral aluminous tobermorite had formed in the nuclear reactor's concrete walls when the temperatures were maintained for 16 years at 40 to 55 degrees Celsius.
According to studies, Roman concrete used in the construction of marine barriers could survive for more than two millennia because the Roman concrete undergoes a unique chemical reaction when underwater.
Phys.org reported that the seawater dissolves the volcanic ash, which is one of the components of Roman concrete, which leads to the formation of aluminous tobermorite. It makes the concrete more chemically stable and stronger, given that this rare material is a crystal.
Roman Concrete vs. Modern Concrete
An article from sciencetimes.com states Aluminous Tobermorite is extremely difficult to incorporate in today's modern concrete because nobody exactly knows how to make it. The samples and texts left from ancient times do not paint the whole picture due to incomplete formula. Scientists have previously tried making it in a laboratory with very high temperatures that are above 70 degrees Celsius, but to no avail.
Compared with modern concrete, called Portland cement, Roman cement does not easily corrode over a short period under the salty seawater. Additionally, Portland cement uses pulverized calcium silicates that harden when water is introduced, which is not dissimilar to the Roman concrete. The only difference is that they use dissimilar ingredients since Roman concrete use volcanic ash.
Machin Design reported that researchers believe that by taking something from the recipes of making the Roman concrete, they would make a modern concrete that is more durable and corrosion-free to continue protecting the people living on the coastline.
This amazing discovery could help scientists develop stronger and more eco-friendly concrete.
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