A local project that proposes to transform excavation waste into high-impact concrete is among various ideas that will be discussed at an international conference in Malta. focused on the concrete industry.

“Concrete Sustainability: Materials and Structures” kicks off on Monday and will run until Wednesday, November 22 at the Valletta Campus of the University of Malta.

Organised by the University of Malta and the International Federation for Structural Concrete (fib), with the collaboration of Philip A Tabone, the conference is the second of its series, following the first event held in 2018.

Cement and concrete production have a significant ecological impact that is associated with rising carbon emissions and the overconsumption of raw materials. Consequently, innovations aimed at enhancing the sustainability of concrete assume paramount importance in furthering climate action within the construction industry.

One of the projects to be presented at the conference is ReCon (Recycled Materials and Industrial By-Products to produce High-Performance Concrete Structures) led by Professor Ruben Paul Borg of the Construction Materials Research Group at the University of Malta.

Project ReCon tackles the problem of the increasingly large volumes of waste produced by the construction industry, from construction and demolition waste, to excavated waste limestone and quarry waste.

The project looks towards recycling as the answer. Excavation waste, due to low mechanical characteristics and impurities, so far has been considered inadequate to be used as aggregate in civil engineering applications. Through a new technological process, the waste is transformed into a low impact high-performance concrete.

From something considered unusable, the project has transformed the waste into a premium quality product that is strong, stable and durable enough for construction applications. As the new product is primarily made of waste, less waste will be disposed of, fewer raw materials will be consumed, and the environmental effect is overall reduced.

This project is only one among a number that will be presented during conference. The quest for concrete sustainability has led to significant advancements in intelligent technologies and progressive materials, which support the use of materials and structures that are more ecologically friendly, financially viable, and operationally effective.

The primary objective of the event involves the assessment of the latest breakthroughs in the field. This includes pioneering materials and their pragmatic applications within the industrial domain, self-healing concrete, ultra-high-performance concrete, biomaterials, additive manufacturing and production technologies.

The conference will host leading international experts who actively contribute to research and industry within the realm of concrete materials and structures. They shall deliver key presentations on the latest innovation in cement-based composites and reinforced concrete structures.

The ReCON Project is financed by the Malta Council for Science & Technology, for and on behalf of the Foundation for Science and Technology, through the FUSION: R&I Technology Development Programme.

This article is edited by Erika Puglisevich and brought to you by the Malta Chamber of Scientists 

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