The Romans fashioned their buildings with concrete that has endured for 2,000 years. Their secret? Some researchers think it’s how the Romans heated lime. Others think it’s how they used pozzolanic material such as volcanic ash. Nowhere does coffee figure into the equation. Too bad.
Happily, researchers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University have discovered that “concrete can be made 30% stronger by replacing a percentage of sand with spent coffee grounds, an organic waste product produced in huge amounts that usually ends up in landfills,” writes New Atlas. Rajeev Roychand (above), the lead author of a study in the Journal of Cleaner Production, notes: “The disposal of organic waste poses an environmental challenge as it emits large amounts of greenhouse gasses including methane and carbon dioxide, which contribute to climate change. The inspiration for our work was to find an innovative way of using the large amounts of coffee waste in construction projects rather than going to landfills—to give coffee a ‘double shot’ at life.” If Roychand’s research findings endure, archaeologists and materials engineers might enjoy puzzling over the mysteries of coffee and concrete another two millennia from now.
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