A start-up from Udine learns from the Pantheon: here is self-repairing and sustainable concrete

A start-up from Udine learns from the Pantheon: here is self-repairing and sustainable concrete
A start-up from Udine learns from the Pantheon: here is self-repairing and sustainable concrete
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Erected 1905 years ago, the Pantheon building has survived intact up to the present day after facing earthquakes, fires, bad weather and the neglect of the centuries. Investigating the secret behind the resilience of the concrete with which it was built at the time of the ancient Romans is a research begun in 2017 and led by chemist Admir Masic – associate professor of Environmental Engineering at the MIT-Massachusetts Institute of Technology – who identified the elements that have allowed its extraordinary longevity. Starting from this study – just published in the authoritative magazine Science Advances – the Italian startup DMAT, a deep tech company specializing in cutting-edge materials, has begun to develop an innovative technology to create new types of durable and sustainable concrete, without increasing production costs.

Founded by Paolo Sabatini, who is also co-author of the recently published research, together with Masic himself and, among others, his compatriot Carlo Andrea Guatterini, and the Frenchman Nicolas Chanut, DMAT has just landed in the United States, giving life to a newco it will also deal with the development and marketing of concretes with these new characteristics. Certified in Switzerland by the Institute of Mechanics of Materials, this new generation of concretes is characterized by the ability to self-repair. DMAT technology also guarantees a significant reduction in costs and CO2 emissions compared to products on the market today.

The first new generation concrete to enter the market is called D-Lime and combines durability and sustainability performance never achieved before. In fact, this product makes it possible to extend the life and quality of buildings through its ability to self-repair any cracks.

A process which, similarly to the Roman cement studied by Masic, is activated by water which, instead of damaging the material, closes the cracks with a process similar to that of the healing of biological tissues. The concrete developed by DMAT also allows for a 20% saving in CO2 emissions. The creation of D-Lime concrete is entrusted directly to the producers who, through a licensing plan intended for producers, construction companies and real estate developers, will be able to directly apply the new formula without modifying the production plants.

DMAT technology will make it possible to create products which, for the same performance, will allow for savings of up to 50% in costs. DMAT technologies respond to the new needs of a market, that of concrete, which today is worth around 650 billion euros and which is called upon to respond to the urgent challenge of decarbonising its production processes, among the most impacting on the planet: its industrial chain is in fact responsible for 8% of CO2 emissions. Concrete is the material most used by man, 33 billion tons are produced every year, 18 times the weight of global steel production and eight times that of all automobiles produced in history. The equivalent of the weight of 5 and a half billion elephants.

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Thanks to it, four million buildings are built every year, more than 11,000 a day. «DMAT’s mission is to make an ecosystem with enormous volumes such as that of concrete greener and more efficient. To achieve this, we work and will continue to work pursuing two macro-objectives: to increase the durability of this material while decreasing its environmental impact. Today we are the only player that manages to guarantee a 50% improvement in structural performance with a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions.

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An extraordinary result, especially if you consider that we allow it to be achieved without additional costs, but, rather, by offering the most competitive price on the market» explains the CEO of DMAT Paolo Sabatini. «The volumes of demand for concrete on the global market and the purposes for which it is used – from the construction of strategic infrastructures to the construction of housing and workplaces built in every corner of the planet with contained costs – explain by themselves how much it really is a one of the most democratic products of our era» continues Sabatini.

«The bad reputation that sometimes still accompanies this material today is above all linked to the problems of durability over time and the environmental impact of its production chain, in particular the use of one of its main ingredients, cement» he continues. «But the United Nations Development Program also defines sustainability as a driver of progress that must rest on three pillars: economic, social and environmental sustainability. Today concrete integrates the first two of these needs. DMAT focuses on the third party, developing technologies that make one of the most indispensable products of contemporary society greener and more durable. Its economic competitiveness and global accessibility are already a given. We work every day to make it a 100% sustainable material».

The article is in Italian

Tags: startup Udine learns Pantheon selfrepairing sustainable concrete

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