CO2 Inhalation of Concrete Structures: The Case of Carbon Uptake in the U.S. Pavement Network

Believe it or not, concrete is alive. In fact, it breathes.

In this webinar, the CO2 inhalation of concrete, so-called carbonation or carbon uptake, will be discussed. The concrete carbon uptake depends mostly on three factors, including mix design constituents, concrete structure temperature, and environmental conditions. For the concrete used in the US pavements (including concrete and composite segments), these factors can be quite different from one region to another. Each road segment undergoes several maintenance and repair actions, and the exposure conditions of the pavements are quite different. Therefore, a network-level model was jointly used with a carbon uptake model to estimate the total amount of carbon uptake during the end of life and use phase of pavements over the next 30 years. Our results show that 5.8 Mt CO2 can be sequestered by concrete materials used in the pavement network. This value is equivalent to 5.5% of the total carbon emitted by cement used for streets and highways. The developed carbon uptake model can be used for roughly estimating the CO2 absorbed by any concrete elements and the results of this can provide insights towards the inclusion of carbon uptake in the calculation of the environmental impact of concrete structures.


This webinar will be presented by CSHub Postdoctoral Associate Hessam AzariJafari.


The MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) webinar series offers information of general interest to members of the building, paving, and construction communities, as well as to educators, students, journalists, and law and policy-makers interested in the environmental and economic impacts of decision-making concerning infrastructure. Videos of all of our recent webinars are posted to our YouTube channel and a schedule of upcoming webinars is posted to our website.