Better Concrete

By Molly Michelson

Sometimes to look into the past you need to dig deep—not just physically, but visually, as well. Some of the experiments at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) in Berkeley do just that. With their powerful X-rays they can examine dinosaur blood or determine what killed Napoleon.

Scientists at the ALS recently dug into Roman concrete this way. Remarkably, Roman concrete constructed 2,000 years ago is still strong today, even under rough sea. In contrast, the concrete we manufacture only lasts around 100 years.

Additionally, most of the concrete we produce today has terrible environmental impacts. The process for creating Portland cement, a key ingredient in modern concrete, requires fossil fuels to burn calcium carbonate (limestone) and clays at about 1,450 degrees Celsius (2,642 degrees Fahrenheit). Seven percent of global carbon dioxide emissions every year comes from this activity.

To make a greener, more durable concrete, scientists from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, working with Berkeley researchers, used spectroscopy at the ALS to examine the Roman concrete and determine its ingredients. Ancient Romans made no secret that volcanic ash was part of the process, but the team also discovered a very rare hydrothermal mineral called aluminum tobermorite (Al-tobermorite) that formed in the concrete, and evidence also suggests the use of seawater in mixing the concrete.




Eco-friendly children’s rooms: No VOC Lullaby Paints Chalkboard Paint

It can be one parental fear to walk into your child’s bedroom and find they have drawn on the walls.  It can be another parental fear that your child’s health will be affected by toxic decorating, especially out gassing from paints.   Lullaby Paints has the solution to both of these problems with their colorful line of chalkboard paints.  Chalkboards aren’t just black anymore!

There’s something undeniably fun about chalkboards (c’mon, admit it). They simply beckon for doodles and drawings. Go ahead and get your chalk on with Lullaby Paints hard, super-resilient Chalkboard paint made to the same baby-safe standards as other Lullaby Paints.

Offered in sixteen colors to accent any room, Chalkboard Paints provide a wonderful canvas for children to express their creative instincts. The low-sheen finish is ideal for all kinds of chalks and is fully washable to make masterpiece after masterpiece after masterpiece.

Chalkboard Paints are also available as a kit, including paint (sufficient for a board of thirty square feet with two coats) a roller, tray, chalk and edging tape. And, our safe formula means kids can paint their own chalkboard – perfect for artwork, poetry, or anything their imagination can dream up.

We were sent one of the kits, and I can’t wait to find a space in our home for it.  What a great way to be able to leave messages for family members, encourage artistic expression, increase print awareness, etc.  This chalkboard paint is washable and resilient.


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