Concrete Flowers: 180 Sec. Thesis

The Flower Power of concrete

Most people think of large city skyscrapers, when they think of concrete. For Elise, a GCP Applied Technologies concrete scientist, she thinks of a large field of flowers.

Wait… flowers?

The flowers Elise refers to in her thesis relate to the structural performance of concrete. When cement dissolves into water and their union solidifies, flowers are born.

Although they look very delicate at first glance, by growing and locking together, these flowers become a very strong and incredible network. We rely on these strong networks every day when we step into a tall building or drive across a motorway bridge.

Unfortunately, cement has some gas trouble... in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2). Even though we would like to reduce CO2 emissions, we simply can't stop the production of cement; otherwise, we would have no infrastructure. As a result, we have to think of a more sustainable way...

Luckily, thanks to the research of scientists, like Elise, alternative materials have been discovered that can create these flowers including calcined clay, fly ash and industry byproducts.

Material engineers experiment with these alternative, greener materials and study their interactions. GCP is proud to be working with top scientists and experts to create a more sustainable future for our society and environment.

"My Thesis in 180 Seconds" Competition:

Held at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, the competition gave doctoral students the opportunity to present their research topic in simple terms to an audience and group of judges who graded them. In three minutes, each student must deliver a clear, concise and compelling explanation of their research project.

Elise Berodier, an R&D Engineer at GCP Applied Technologies, won second place and an audience award at this competition. Only 14 students were selected for the final among 70 PhD candidates. The original talk was given in French.

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