A new and vastly improved concrete, the world’s most used man-made industrial product, has earned a King Saud University engineering team the Golden Award at the 39th International Exhibition of Inventions held recently in Geneva, Switzerland.
The winning engineering team was comprised of members from two departments from the KSU College of Engineering: Dr. Tarek H. Almusallam and Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Khan of the Civil Engineering Department and Dr. Yousef S. Al-Zeghayer and Dr. Waheed A. Al-Masry of the Chemical Engineering Department. Dr. Fadi bin Muhammad Saeed Tarabzouni of Crystal Global was also a key member of the team.
Project leader Dr. Almusallam explained that the use of Titanium waste byproducts in concrete manufacturing reduces the production of conventional concrete, as well as reducing energy consumption that can be saved for other industries.
Concrete is generally composed of cement and several other materials mixed with an aggregate and water, but the KSU team used titanium (Ti) metal manufacturing process waste byproducts, also known as admixtures, such as fly ash, furnace slag cement, and silica fume to partially reduce the need of cement in production of this revolutionary concrete. Tests have demonstrated that the new concrete is as strong and resistant as the conventional form and offers several advantages.
The production of cement produces environmentally-hazardous carbon dioxide emissions and significant energy. Decreased cement production therefore decreases carbon dioxide emissions into the environment and reduces energy needs. In addition, the titanium manufacturing byproducts not only don’t have to be imported, the costly storage or disposal represents a significant savings.
At a time when the Kingdom is undergoing rapid and expansive construction, the major portion being concrete structures and concrete repair, a need for economic and environmentally-friendly construction products is critical. The new concrete can be used in infrastructures, building construction in regular and reinforced form. It also can be used in other applications which use large quantities of concrete such as infrastructures and structural extensions.
As of 2006, about 7.5 cubic kilometers of concrete are made each year—more than one cubic meter for every person on Earth. The effect of the Saudi invention on the reduction of costs in energy consumption, money and environmental damages will be tremendous.
KSU has signed a memo of understanding with Riyadh Techno Valley and the Crystal Corporation, one of the National Industrialization Companies (NIC), to utilize this invention. KSU is striving to achieve two objectives: serving humanity in general and generating additional profit to the national economy.
Dr. Al Musallam emphasized that the members’ adoption of a single axial idea and their willingness to exchange expertise, pose questions, and devise solutions was an illustration of the knowledgeable society’s value.
The alliance with the Crystal Global is an example of quality product stemming from joint research and is a reflection of the comprehensive development plan aiming to diversify the national economy.
Overall, King Saud University individuals and teams won 11 of the 17 commendations claimed by Saudi institutions in the international competition.