Friday, February 11, 2011

New Concrete Additive Triggers Zombie Apocalypse

(from the December 2010 Editor's Note in AsphaltPro Magazine)

"It’s just interesting to theorize about the displacement of decomposed pollutant products from a chemical reaction within a concrete pavement." -Sandy Lender, AsphaltPro Editor

This is an editorial column, so I hope everyone sees this use of dramatic license as humorous. I guess I could have saved it for April 1st but this is the fourth annual State of the Industry issue of AsphaltPro and we should discuss what the competition is up to. Apparently, the Portland Cement Association (PCA) as a collective is preparing to release toxic decomposed organic compounds into the air and groundwater of densely populated communities as the association’s pavements erode, crack and fail during the next decade, slowly turning us into the walking dead.

By the time PCA officials complete this insidious plan, all DOT engineers will have been brainwashed into believing they helped the environment, when in fact they sped society’s eventual collapse by bringing about a zombie apocalypse. I wonder if anyone at MoDOT suspects they’re spurring the end of civilized society in the United States. See the fact-oriented, related article on page 24 and note the integrity of MoDOT to cooperate with AsphaltPro to get information to you about the Ladue Road/photocatalytic concrete project. My hat’s off to the gentlemen there for helping me present just the facts.

As most zombie-causing infectious diseases do, the concept of smog-eating concrete starts with intelligent science. Researchers in Europe have put Titanium dioxide (TiO2) in concrete. This ultra white pigment makes the concrete very pretty.

TiO2 also causes a chemical reaction within the concrete when exposed to ultraviolet light. Here’s where the zombie movie picks up speed and audience members lean forward in their seats.

The chemical reaction takes place between ultra-ickies from the air (like dirt, soot, mold, etcetera) and the TiO2. The “bad” reactants break down—decompose—but the TiO2 is supposed to remain unharmed and ready for more pollutants from the air to settle on the pavement and get caught in its wily web.

To be honest, that’s pretty cool. But where do the products of the chemical reaction within the pavement go? According to Italian research (Ground Zero in zombie apocalypse terms), the concrete matrix traps the decomposed toxins.

Once again, that’s pretty cool. But there’s a catch. We all know concrete spawls. We all know concrete fails. We all know concrete has those obnoxious bumps every few yards where water gets in and causes the rebar to rust and expand and send cracks up to the surface. We all know concrete has to be “fixed.” As the concrete fails, the decomposed pollutants do what? And, of course, some products of the chemical reaction, by the photocatalytic concrete pavement’s design, wash down and away.

I theorize that these decomposed pollutants escape into the ground water (by design) and into the air (through pavement failures) on a regular basis and en masse during a pavement’s reconstruction. This is the part of the movie where somebody on-screen breathes too deeply, convulses and starts eating his fellow construction worker’s brain. Someone in the audience screams and tosses popcorn. The camera pans to a bloodied hard hat on the ground.

Of course this whole editorial column is designed to be a bit corny. No zombies will rise up from the use of photocatalytic concrete pavements. It’s just interesting to theorize about the displacement of decomposed pollutant products from a chemical reaction within a concrete pavement. If smog suddenly defies its natural tendency to float skyward, that is. I mean…does it settle onto pavements? There’s a funneling trick I’d like to see.

I’m off to buy an industrial-strength can opener and more ammo for just in case! In the meantime, I wish you all a lovely holiday season devoid of monsters and filled with family and friends. May you have a peaceful and prosperous 2011.

Stay Safe,
Sandy Lender, Editor (sandy @ theasphaltpro dot com)
Tags: , , , , , ,

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites