Summer Research Program 2020-2021

Design of Seawall with Limestone Calcined Clay Cement (LC3) and Reactive Magnesia Cement (RMC), Calcined Limestone

Students: Abdulrahman I. Kh. AlTantawi, Hamza Ansari, Shaheer Haider
Professor: Kemal Celik

Concrete is the most widely used construction material, yet its ubiquitous presence also poses serious environmental challenges and concerns. Ordinary Portland cement (OPC), the primary binding agent in concrete requires intense energy for production and gives rise to an average CO2 emission of 900 kg/tonne due to fuel combustion and decomposition of CaCO3 during the calcination process. With an annual global production of 4.1 billion tonnes in 2019, the cement industry is estimated to emit 3.0 billion tonnes of CO2 (assuming 80 clinker content), accounting for 7.6% of the annual anthropogenic CO2 emission of 39.2 billion tonnes. To mitigate the environmental footprint of OPC-based concrete, a combination of limestone powder and calcined kaolinitic clay can be used to replace clinker-based cement at large proportions. The limestone and clay are widely available around the globe and can be easily processed with the existing infrastructure of typical OPC plants, thus requiring little capital investment. Also, this emerging ternary mixture is capable of enhancing the composite performance with regard to mechanical and durability properties.

Durability is of immense importance when designing new sustainable, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly materials. A lesser durable concrete will lead to frequent maintenance and repair, thus leading to economic costs and an increased carbon footprint. The highly humid environment of the UAE’s shoreline increases the corrosion vulnerability of the coastal infrastructures in which reinforcing bars are embedded. Corrosion reaction produces corrosion products of larger volume in comparison to the parent metal, and this causes distress, cracking, and spalling which consequentially compromises the load-carrying capacity of the structure. Load-induced cracking serves as a pathway for the ingress of aggressive ions such as chloride and moisture to reach the rebar surface, thus initiating the corrosion process. To mitigate this effect discontinuous of synthetic fibers are introduced into the matrix.

Students involved in this project will enhance skills that are not limited to but include Engineering design, advanced knowledge in Solid Works, Ansys, Abaqus and SAP, Concrete mixture design, performance-based design, Techniques such as calorimetry, mechanical property characterization, X-ray diffraction (XRD), thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM).

The methodological approach will be as following:

1) Preparing the formulation, trials, and testing of sea walls panel with LC3, RMC, and calcined-limestone, including fiber reinforcement 
2) Enhancing surface complexity of sea walls,
3) Creating a test set up to test the durability and design of the seawall built using the mixture in the lab
4) Implementation of produced seawalls to the Abu Dhabi’s marina, 
5) Characterizing and performance testing of seawalls before and after the installation to the shoreline, 
6) Writing technical report

Economic Analysis of Energy and Purple Hydrogen Generation from Municipal Sewage Waste using Microwave-induced Plasma Gasification Technology

Picture from CE.ECO

Student: Elvira Selivanova 
Professor: Philip Panicker

With the rapid growth of mega-cities and the burgeoning rates of urbanization around the world, the management of sewage and municipal solid wastes (MSW) becomes of prime importance to the health of the public, the economy, and the environment of every modern nation. Urban sewage contains organic pollutants, dissolved pharmaceuticals, microplastics, and heavy metals that cannot be easily eliminated using traditional treatment plants. MSW is traditionally sent to landfills which is not a favorable long-term solution.

One of the modern waste-to-energy technologies that have shown promising results in the treatment and disposal of wastes is microwave-induced plasma gasification. Microwave-induced plasma gasification technology (MPGT) is a relatively new and efficient technology that can turn waste from a liability into a resource for a completely circular economy while achieving zero-landfill and zero-discharge-to-sea goals. Sewage sludge and MSW can be transformed into energy and raw materials, including hydrogen produced from waste, enabling cities to plug into the newly developing hydrogen economy, and become cleaner, greener, and safer.

The adoption of this technology helps meet many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals including good health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, industry, innovation, and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, and climate action. Economic analysis of its implementation, which is the main objective of this project, would highlight its relevance in the modern world.