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LA Tech Home to Concrete of the Future

Posted: Updated: Sep 24, 2012 07:14 PM

RUSTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - The Sportsman's Paradise could soon be home to the concrete of the future.

"We were looking for a new type of concrete," Dr. Erez Allouche with the Louisiana Tech Trenchless Technology Center said. "A new type of material."

After seven years of work, Louisiana Tech scientists, headed by Allouche, believe they've made it: a geopolymer made up of coal ash, sand and gravel.

KNOE 8 News interviewed Allouche under a gazebo standing atop geopolymer supports.

"Truly low-cost but at the same time acid-resistant." he said.

Some sample of the geopolymer had been submerged in acid for six months with hardly a scratch on it.

But what about heat?

It was put to the test under 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

After one minute of burning, there was no feeling of heat at all on certain sides of the sample.

The scientists have  already made parking blocks, bike stands and even school coasters out of the stuff and that's just the beginning.

"We just made a one cubic yard-large cube of geopolymer, slabs for NASA, bridge barriers, some floors for paper mill companies," La Tech Research Scientist, Carlos Montes, said.

The geopolymer's materials are set to be much cheaper than those of concrete which could save the state a lot of cash.

"It could be a product that creates new jobs, creates new manufacturing," Allouche said.

And it'll hit the market sooner than you think.

"Within the next one to two years," Allouche said.

The geopolymer earned Allouche the 2012 Louisiana Technology Product of the Year.

His next step will be taking the geopolymer to a national lab in Las Vegas in the next year, where they'll make a sidewalk out of the new material.

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