More concrete is produced than any other synthetic material on Earth. In the foreseeable future there is no other material that can replace concrete to meet our societies' legitimate needs for housing, shelter, schools, infrastructure, etc. Concrete is produced from abundant raw materials locally available almost everywhere on earth. It is an inexpensive construction material with a relatively small environmental footprint, but its attractive properties have lead to massive use that contributes approximately 5% of global CO2 production.
On the other hand, emerging breakthroughs in concrete science and engineering hold the promise that concrete can be part of the solution of contributing to a sustainable development that encompasses economic growth, social progress while minimizing the ecological footprint. This requires a holistic approach in which progress in concrete science seamlessly feeds into innovative structural concrete engineering applications, ranging from concrete pavement solutions to wall systems, whose impact on sustainable development are evaluated with advanced environmental-econometric impact studies. This is the focus of the Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSH). With this focus in mind, an exceptional team of dedicated interdisciplinary faculty from three different schools within MIT, School of Engineering, School of Architecture and Planning and the Sloan School of Management are participating.
The CSHub at MIT will revolutionize the scientific basis for evaluating the environmental impact of Portland cement concrete, for optimizing the use of present materials, and for modifying present materials and developing new materials designed to achieve a fully sustainable physical infrastructure, including uses in ever more demanding environments.