MIT students fortify concrete by adding recycled plastic
MIT students fortify concrete by adding recycled plastic19 Dec 2017

Discarded plastic bottles could one day be used to build stronger, more flexible concrete structures, from sidewalks and street barriers, to buildings and bridges, according to a new study.
MIT undergraduate students have found that, by exposing plastic flakes to small, harmless doses of gamma radiation, then pulverizing the flakes into a fine powder, they can mix the irradiated plastic with cement paste and fly ash to produce concrete that is up to 15 percent stronger than conventional concrete.
“There is a huge amount of plastic that is landfilled every year,” says Michael Short, an assistant professor in MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. “Our technology takes plastic out of the landfill, locks it up in concrete, and also uses less cement to make the concrete, which makes fewer carbon dioxide emissions. This has the potential to pull plastic landfill waste out of the landfill and into buildings, where it could actually help to make them stronger.”