Claudia Ostertag: The future of concrete

Claudia Ostertag

Claudia Ostertag testing a concrete sample. (Photo by Bart Nagel)

As the world’s most widely used construction material, concrete has a far-reaching environmental impact. It’s composed primarily of cement, whose manufacture accounts for nearly 7 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

But civil and environmental engineering professor Claudia Ostertag is researching ways to make concrete more sustainable, without compromising its durability or strength. The vice chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, she has developed a new, holistic approach to creating concrete composites, using micro and macrofibers to control cracking and damage progression. Under testing, these composites have shown exceptional durability and resistance to cracking. Outperforming conventional concrete, these high-performance materials just might be key to improving the sustainability of our concrete infrastructure — and reducing the amount of CO2 emissions throughout the world.

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