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Green concrete research earns Clarkson prof $30K

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POTSDAM - Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Sulapha Peethamparan has received a $30,000 grant from the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) for her research on cement-free “green” concrete.

The grant is part of a group recently awarded by NYSP2I to fund research and development projects focused on applied research designed to stimulate solutions that will help New York state companies remain competitive, while reducing their environmental footprint.

“This funding is designed to further stimulate research efforts and develop innovative solutions in the broad categories of sustainability and pollution prevention,” says Anahita Williamson, NYSP2I director. Projects were selected based on their potential to reduce the environmental footprint of businesses in an effective and economical way.

“Traditional concrete is made by mixing Portland cement, water and aggregate,” says Peethamparan. “The resulting product is a stable infrastructure material when exposed to water. In my research, I am investigating the stability of a new ‘greener’ cement-free concrete (CFC), when exposed to water.”

The CFC is formulated by mixing a strong alkali solution, industrial byproduct fly ash and aggregate, without using any cement. Peethamparan will expose the CFC to water to evaluate the stability of this type of concrete to leaching. The dissolved ion concentrations of the water in contact with CFC will be analyzed periodically to check the concentration of the heavy metals or other metallic ions leaching out of the CFC.

“I hope that the preliminary data generated in this study will be useful in deciding the suitability CFC for water retaining structures, foundations and other infrastructures that may be in contact with water,” says Peethamparan.

NYSP2I, as part of its ongoing research and development program, annually solicits proposals from faculty and staff at the institute’s partner universities — Clarkson University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, University at Buffalo, and Rochester Institute of Technology — that support both short- and long-term strategic research intended to drive innovative green technologies for organizations to implement. NYSP2I’s efforts are driven by business and organizational needs and are designed to solve specific issues where the solutions result in transferable practices and technologies.

Current research and development priorities include the elimination or substitution of toxic chemicals, overall waste reduction, and energy-and-water efficiency opportunities in priority manufacturing sectors, as well as projects primarily benefitting the Buffalo area.

This year, NYSP2I provided seed funding to validate a research concept with the expectation that the principle investigator will pursue follow-on funding either from NYSP2I or another sponsor for each feasible research concept.

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute is housed at Rochester Institute of Technology and provides statewide, comprehensive and integrated programming in technology research, development and diffusion, training and education aimed at making New York state more sustainable for workers, the public, the environment and the economy. NYSP2I was created in 2008 through a grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Additional partners include Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Clarkson University, State University of New York at Buffalo and New York’s 10 Regional Technology Development Centers. To learn more, go to http://www.nysp2i.rit.edu .

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