July 17, 2013
A Greener Concrete Jungle
The idea of climate change is a topic that is thrown around a lot these days. As we trek into a world where we continue to expand civilizations, we also run the risk of deforestation and provide little refuge in times where the weather is unbearable. Although nothing compares to real trees and the green that is provided, scientists have found a way to incorporate their green properties into city streets. This type of cool concrete was able to absorb nitrogen oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other compounds found in smog.
The testing process was fairly easy; they measured out a specific piece of concrete within a parking lot and measured the foot traffic, NO, NO2 levels, and the amount of ultraviolent rays a period of one year. They wanted to make sure that the conditions of the test were as close as possible, so they performed the same test with the new concrete material under very similar humidity levels and conditions. Throughout that year, they took 26 different days of data and compiled the information. They found that over a year of time, they could expect an absorption rate of 45 percent. They averaged it out to about 19 percent absorption each day.
The interesting part of this new material is the concrete is actually exactly the same as regular cement. The only difference is they spray on a chemical called titanium oxide. This chemical is able to neutralize the pollutants in the air. Just think of Febreeze and their commercial, where they say that it neutralizes odors in the air; well, this chemical does the exact same thing, but with the pollutants within the air rather than just the odors.
This new miracle cement must be the all the rage then, right? Well, like all cool and actually usable ideas these days, the cost of actually implementing the new material is more expensive than the original cement and cities just can’t justify paying the price increase. In a time where the economy is still recovering, cities are trying to find ways of saving money; this new form of combatting smog and air pollution just doesn’t show big enough results to cause a bleep on the radar of cities and their pollution management.
There is always hope though, because as this technology is researched, the more possibilities there are for improvements. As this idea forms and becomes more effective, the idea of turning a concrete jungle like Los Angeles or Dallas into a greener concrete jungle by simply changing the type of cement may become a reality. The tests being done are very promising in the Netherlands, where smog has made the air so thick that you could actually taste the pollution. This new idea and many others have already been implemented and their city has already shown a vast amount of improvement. As we make strides to curb climate change, it is vital that we use technology that can be applied to the cities that already exist and continue to create cleaner new technologies.
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