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Week in Tech: Searching for Sustainable Asphalt Alternatives | Architect Magazine

Plus, the National Trust for Historic Preservation helps launch an initiative to support HBCUs, Carnegie Mellon University researchers trace STEM’s gender imbalance in part to language, and more design-tech news from the week.

Courtesy RMIT University RMIT University researchers developed the materials using recycled concrete aggregate and scrap tires
Courtesy RMIT University RMIT University researchers developed the materials using recycled concrete aggregate and scrap tires

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Researchers from RMIT University, in Melbourne, have developed a more sustainable paving option with a formulation that blends scrap rubber tires and waste from construction and demolition sites The new material can serve as a paving base layer, which often comprises sand or quarried rock. “Our blended material is a 100% recycled alternative that offers a new way to reuse tyre and building waste, while performing strongly on key criteria like flexibility, strength, and permanent deformation,” said lead researcher Mohammad Boroujeni in a RMIT press release. The researchers recently published a study on the strength of their paving material Construction and Building Materials, testing variables such as the size and amount of recycled waste in their mixture. They found that the material with using 0.5%, 1%, and 2% of “crumb rubber satisfied the shear strength requirements for use in pavement base/subbase applications.” [RMIT University]

Although women make up 50% of the workforce, they comprise just 28% of professionals in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have attributed a part that disparity back to implicit biases embedded in everyday language following their comparison of the gender associations of 25 languages to an international dataset of psychological gender associations. Published as a pre-print in Nature Human Behavior, the study notes that “people’s implicit gender associations are strongly predicted by gender associations encoded in the statistics of the language they speak.” [Nature]

courtesy HANNAH
courtesy HANNAH

In 2002, researchers from the Michigan State University Department of Entomology discovered Agrilus planipennis, an invasive, oblong beetle commonly known as the Emerald ash borer. Researchers believe that that beetle, native to Asia,arrived in North America via shipping crates. Nearly two decades later, the beetle has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in 35 states and several Canadian provinces. Leslie Lok and Sasa Zivkovic, assistant professors at Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning and founding partners of Ithaca–based firm Hannah, spotted an opportunity to repurpose the dead trees as an affordable building material. Once the beetle arrived in Cornell University’s 4,200-acre Arnot Forest, they used models generated by an iPad-based scanner to determine the best way to cut the irregularly shaped tree logs, slicing them with a custom band saw and creating a 100-square-foot housing prototype. The Ashen Cabin was featured in ARCHITECT’s June 2020 issue and further discussed by Lok and Zivkovic in a recent article in The Conversation. [The Conversation]

Read on >>>> Source: Week in Tech: Searching for Sustainable Asphalt Alternatives | Architect Magazine

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