What Can Ancient Roman Engineers Teach Us About the Future of Infrastructure Materials?

Spring 2024 FGRU Recipient

Andrés Clarens (Engineering)

Concrete is one of the most important materials in modern civilization but its production generates 8% of global CO2 emissions so there is growing urgency to develop alternative low-carbon alternatives. Ancient Roman engineers produced concretes that have lasted millennia and were made with locally available feedstocks and virtually no carbon footprint. Our team will travel to Spain to test hypotheses related to the role that water quality and feedstocks had on the reaction products that predominate at different sites. We will visit the University of Granada to learn new characterization techniques to unpack relationship between feedstock abundance, water quality, and material properties.