Coffee Can Make Concrete 30% Stronger, a New Study Finds

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.

You can read his study, “Trans­form­ing spent cof­fee grounds into a valu­able resource for the enhance­ment of con­crete strength” here.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon. If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent 

The Mys­tery Final­ly Solved: Why Has Roman Con­crete Been So Durable?

How to Devel­op Pho­tographs with Cof­fee

Is Cof­fee Good for You?: A Cof­fee Con­nois­seur Reviews the Sci­en­tif­ic Research

How Caf­feine Fueled the Enlight­en­ment, Indus­tri­al Rev­o­lu­tion & the Mod­ern World: An Intro­duc­tion by Michael Pol­lan

Black Cof­fee: Doc­u­men­tary Cov­ers the His­to­ry, Pol­i­tics & Eco­nom­ics of the “Most Wide­ly Tak­en Legal Drug”

by | Permalink | Comments (0) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.