Concrete Without Quarries

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This practical activity allows students to explore how nature creates calcium carbonate, a compound needed to manufacture cement, at ambient temperatures and using abundant, readily available raw materials. The cement used in concrete is manufactured from calcium carbonate, which is extracted from open-pit mines. In this activity, students investigate how corals create calcium carbonate from seawater and carbon dioxide and consider how this could transform conventional concrete manufacturing into a more sustainable industry.

The resource also encourages students to think about the biological models around us which could serve as inspiration for sustainable chemistry methods and other design and engineering innovation. The activity is available to suit different age groups with further examples of biomimicry and differentiated questions.

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