Emirati architects make cement with salt

Emirati architects make cement with salt

A Dubai-based architect binary is looking to move away from traditional building practices with alternative cement that has been designed in the UAE’s salt flats and made from tough waste materials.

Wael Al-Awar and Kenichi Teramoto, lead architects at WiwayHe used the scientific knowledge of universities in the United Arab Emirates and Japan to create cement made using brine from desalination plants in the Emirates, which removes salt from sea water.

It was inspired by the mineral-rich sabkha in the UAE – salt flats that are part of the country’s wetlands. “It is a huge area … it is often ignored,” Al-Awar told CNN.

Sabkha was used in architecture by: centuries ago, blocks were carved from salt flats and used in construction SiwaIt is a medieval city in Egypt close to the Libyan border. But instead of mining the delicate marsh system, al-Awar and Teramoto turned into waste brine containing many of the same minerals.

Ancient fortifications of Shali in the Siwa Oasis, Egypt. credit: Chris Bouroncle / AFP / AFP via Getty Images

The freshwater scarcity of the United Arab Emirates has one of the largest desalination processes in the world. It produces nearly a fifth of the world’s salt water as a byproduct – approximately 28 million cubic meters per day, according to UN-supported report for 2019. But draining saline solution into the sea It can harm marine life. The focus was on finding salinity solutions for desalination, which prompted the release of 3.4 million UAE dirhams ($ 930,000). ”Rethinking the challenge of brine“Earlier this year.
Close-up of the Sabkha apartment in the Emirates. The apartments contain microbes which are

Close-up of the Sabkha apartment in the Emirates. The apartments contain microbes which are “living environment” [that] In fact, it absorbs carbon dioxide, “says engineer Wael Al-Awar. credit: Courtesy of Emirati National Pavilion La Biennale Di Venezia / waiwai

The brine contains magnesium minerals. Kamal Celik, Assistant Professor of Civil and Urban Engineering at New York University Abu Dhabi and part of a team at the university’s AMBER Laboratory, extracted the magnesium compound from the liquid and used it in the cement industry.

Celik says that the cement was poured into blocks, then put into the carbon dioxide chamber to lay it – an innovation that speeds up the production process. The cement was tested in the United Arab Emirates before being sent to Japan, where the blocks were subjected to more rigidity and hardness tests. In addition, an algorithm was developed to calculate the safety of the blocks if they were used in construction, Mika Araki, structural designer at the University of Tokyo, told CNN.

The prefabricated blocks can be used to build a one-storey building “tomorrow,” says al-Awar, but he and Teramoto hope to develop the product for use in multi-storey buildings.

Al-Awar claims that cement based on magnesium can “lead to the equivalent of Portland cement”, which uses calcium carbonate as a raw ingredient and is the cement most used in making concrete.

However, magnesium cement has its limitations. As a salt-based product, it can corrode rebar, although reinforcement with other materials is possible.

Advance blocks of brine-based cement created by al-Awar, Terramoto and academic collaborators

Advance blocks of brine-based cement created by al-Awar, Terramoto and academic collaborators credit: Courtesy of the UAE National Pavilion, La Biennale di Venezia, photographed by Suhail Abdul Latif

Precast blocks are treated in a carbon dioxide chamber, where cement requires a higher proportion of carbon dioxide to solidify enough than is present in the atmosphere.

Precast blocks are treated in a carbon dioxide chamber, where cement requires a higher proportion of carbon dioxide to solidify enough than is present in the atmosphere. credit: Courtesy of the Emirati national pavilion, La Biennale di Venezia, portrayed by Dina Al-Khatib

Professor John Profess is Deputy Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield, UK, and is not affiliated with the project. Salt-based cement, he says, is a “really good idea”, explaining globally that only a third of cement is used in reinforced concrete.

He adds: “This saline solution is a pain that must be eliminated.” “They take local waste and do amazing things with it. I think there’s really cool cooperation there.”

Al-Awar says he and Teramoto are driven by the desire to build more sustainable and eco-friendly architecture. “Given the world’s carbon dioxide emissions and global warming, and all these alarms that have been ringing for many years, it is our duty – it is our responsibility – to act,” he says.

Cement production It is often energy-intensive and has a large carbon footprint. According to the International Energy Agency, the cement sector is the third largest and the largest consumer of industrial energy in the world 7% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Celik says that creating a carbon footprint of magnesium cement is part of an ongoing life cycle study, which she will compare with regular Portland cement and other materials.
Kenichi Teramoto and Wael Al Awar, co-trustees of the National Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates at the Venice Biennale of Architecture.

Kenichi Teramoto and Wael Al Awar, co-trustees of the National Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates at the Venice Biennale of Architecture. credit: Courtesy of the Emirati National Pavilion

In May 2021, Alawar and Teramoto will be the national pavilion of the United Arab Emirates at the Venice Biennale of Architecture, where alternative cement will be displayed at the “Wetlands” exhibition. The wing will be made of magnesium-based cement, although Silik says the cement will not be based on brine because it is not yet ready for increased production.

“The search is still early,” says Al-Awar. “The natural process of trial, trial and error must go through to get to somewhere. But we are very optimistic.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *