FURI | Spring 2020

Researching UV Treated Plastics Used as an Additive in Cement to Mitigate Plastic Waste and Improve Mechanical Performance

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Steel reinforced concrete is used in a large portion of the world’s construction designs; however, the production of​ cement, a primary concretes ingredient, contributes significant carbon emissions to the environment. If the mechanical properties of concrete structures could be improved using less cement while mitigating plastic waste, it could prove to be economically viable in the construction industry. Treating polypropylene with UV light alters its surface properties, allowing it to chemically bind with cement and potentially increase the tensile strength and ductility of concrete structures, while simultaneously reducing cement use required for structures and re-purposing plastic use.

Student researcher

Marissa Jimenez

Materials science and engineering

Hometown: Tempe, Arizona, United States

Graduation date: Spring 2020