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Silica Dynamics Co-Awardee of $1.4 Million in ARPA-E funding to Mimic Roman Era Concrete Strength and Durability

BEAUFORT, South Carolina, July 22, 2021 — Working in concert with prime awardee University of Utah, and Savannah River National Laboratory, the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) Silica Dynamics (now merged with GlassWRX) is developing a novel building material from Engineered Cellular Magmatics that mimics the durability, strength, and longevity of Roman Era Concrete.

The project, “Self-Sustaining Cementitious Systems in Roman Reactive Glass Concretes,” has the potential to massively reduce energy and emissions associated with traditional concrete production and deployment, while also extending its typical 50-year lifespan.

Thomas Adams of KMR Collaborative (engineering lead for the project) said, “Replicating the strength and longevity of Roman Era Concrete is somewhat of a Holy Grail for many scientists and engineers. I’m confident that with Engineered Cellular Magmatics, we hold the key.

One application of this particular custom-engineered ECM technology includes seawalls — for which GlassWRX is in discussion with the city of Beaufort, South Carolina. Dr. Marie Jackson, the ARPA-e project’s Principal Investigator, says it would be the first construction effort since the ancient Roman era involving such a durable building material — one that’s expected to last for centuries, with no steel reinforcement. “We’ve seen nothing like this in modern times,” she says of the material.

“Typical steel-reinforced Portland cement concrete has been the building block of the industrial civilized world for over 100 years,” says Phillip Galland, GlassWRX co-founder, and CEO. “Now it is time to engineer more sustainable solutions that both embrace old technologies and leverage new scientific discoveries to create new building blocks and help cities fortify themselves against whatever climate change might bring”.

The project term is from 10/01/2019 to 09/30/2021.

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