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Highlight Seminar: Karen Scrivener, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Date: February 8, 2016

Time: 4:00 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.

Location: Maeder Hall

Professor Karen Scrivener, of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, will speak on “Meeting the Future Challenges for Concrete” as part of the 2015-2016 Highlight Seminar Series.

Scrivener PhotoABSTRACT
Concrete is the most used material in the world accounting for around half of everything human beings produce each year. Although it is a materials with low intrinsic environmental impact, the colossal volume produced means that it accounts for some 5-8% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.  Demand is likely to double by 2050 due to the growing world population and urbanization, with most of this demand in developing countries.

The biggest challenge is how to meet this demand, while keeping the increase in CO2 emissions to a minimum and secondly how to find enough resources to produce the cement needed.

I will examine the options to meet these challenges. Analysis of the resources available on earth clearly shows that the best option will be cements which continue to be based on Portland cement, but with increasing levels of substitution by other materials.  The supplies of substitute material currently used is unfortunately limited and new materials must be found.  Here calcined clay combined with limestone seem to be a very promising option.

Finally, the best way to increase levels of substitution is to optimize the reactivity of the Portland cement component, which requires improved understanding of the underlying mechanisms.

Karen Scrivener graduated in Materials Science from the University of Cambridge in 1979. She went on to do a Ph.D. at Imperial College, remaining there until 1995.  In 1995, she joined the Central Research Laboratories of Lafarge in France.  In 2001, she was appointed as Professor and Head of the Laboratory of Construction Materials, at EPFL, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland.  The work of this laboratory is focused on improving the sustainability of cementitious building materials.  She is the founder and co-ordinator of Nanocem, a Network of industry and academia for fundamental research on cementitious materials and Editor in Chief of Cement and Concrete Research.  In 2014, she was made a fellow of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering.

All seminars are held on Mondays from 4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m. in the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment’s Maeder Hall. A reception will be provided in the lobby of Maeder Hall immediately following the seminar.