Global usage of concrete has tripled in the last 40 years, and continues to grow rapidly, placing immense pressure on the environment while requiring its use for safe and effective infrastructure. Concrete accounts for roughly 10% of worldwide CO2 emissions annually. A promising method for directly reducing the CO2 emissions associated with concrete is through replacement of cement, the primary binding material in concrete, with a percentage of carbon, creating so called carbon-incorporated cement composites (CCC). Carbon may be sourced from the waste product of methane pyrolysis, a process that is being explored to produce hydrogen fuel at large with lower CO2 footprint, making CCCs a method for carbon sequestration. Along with the environmental benefits, CCCs have displayed beneficial mechanical properties in the form of tensile strength and allow for opportunities with in-situ structural health monitoring arising from the electrical conductivity differences of solid carbon in concrete. Previous work has demonstrated the capability for CCCs to monitor compressive, tensile, and flexural stresses in concrete members at carbon replacements of 0.6% (wt.). This work looks to increase the carbon replacement to levels up to 10% while maintaining (or improving) the sensing, mechanical, and workability properties of concrete. To achieve this, surface modification of carbon materials, namely carbon fibers, via various methods will be used to increase dispersion of fibers in concrete necessary for mechanical and electrical effects and as an enabler towards low-carbon intensity hydrogen fuel.
Project currently funded by: Federal