Jun 15, 2022
Could concrete be a viable solution to micro plastics? First what is a micro plastic…
Micro plastics are microscopic plastics that are less than 5mm in diameter. Depending on the structure can also be named microfibers. These particulates are flakes from plastic water bottle, detergent bottles- basically anything hard plastic. Environmentalists, marine scientists, and doctors alike are concerned with the injection of these particles. At first the larger particles were the primary concern because of the toxicity and risks that the pigment of plastic had on the human and marine life digestive system; however, the nano plastics are of the upmost concern. These fibers can find their way into cells and disrupt the function and processes of cells, interfere with the endocrine system, and become lodged in the lungs causing inflammation. Studies have been inconclusive as to the longterm of effects of consumption of micro plastics.
All this being said…is concrete the answer?
The most prevalent additives to concrete are currently synthetic polymers and steel fibers. These are used to reinforce the concrete and prevent cracking, but there are microfibers that act as “spiderwebs” that lock in the concrete properties. A potential solution that would reduce the amount of microfibers is harvesting these fibers and adding it to concrete so that the lifespan of concrete increased. Could this be the next solution? What do you think?