The Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, a German research organization, has developed a way to reuse the country's building rubble left over from construction, New Civil Engineer reports.
Called the BauCycle process, it separates the various components using an opto-pneumatic detector that enables fine fractions to be separated on the basis of the color, brightness and chemical composition of the particles; it is even capable of distinguishing sulphates from silicates.
The ultimate aim of the project is to transform the mix of minerals within construction waste into a sustainable resource and demonstrate potential applications of reusing the materials regained in construction.
According to the researchers, the materials separated by the process can be used in the production of aerated concrete, which is suitable for smaller, residential structures. The process also yielded a method of creating a strong, cement-free building material.
The German effort mirrors similar efforts in the U.S. in the niche deconstruction sector, which attempts to repurpose construction and demolition waste into usable building materials. Many cities in the United States, including Chicago, Baltimore, and Milwaukee, have tapped into the deconstruction market and have building material reuse stores offering alternatives to traditional building materials. Iowa-based company ReWall recently announced the expansion of its production of building materials made from recycled beverage cartons into Colorado.Read More