Welcome to the Nair Research Lab. In our lab we focus on characterizing sustainable cementitious materials from the micro to the macro scale in order to accelerate the use of these materials in the field.
Concrete is a widely used construction material and its inexpensive. The primary ingredient in concrete is portland cement. It’s manufactured. It leads to about 5-8% of global CO2 emissions. The other challenge is that the American Society of Civil Engineers has given really bad grades for our infrastructure. You definitely don’t want such grades on your transcript.
We as engineers need to design and build longer lasting more durable infrastructure. As we are constructing new buildings and demolishing old buildings there is a lot of construction and demolition waste that goes into the landfill. Similarly, there are like a lot of waste materials that instead of being in the landfill could be useful for replacing various components of concrete either partially or completely. We use various tools in our lab to characterize these alternate sustainable cementitious materials and to see which ones would be more durable that our currently used traditional materials.
Hunter R. Rawlings III Cornell Presidential Research Scholar
Pursuing B.S. in Environmental Engineering, Class of 2023
Project: Sustainable Cementitious Material
Hi, my name is Sophia Shapiro, and I am currently an incoming sophomore conducting research on alternative cementitious materials for geothermal wells. Cornell has an initiative to drill geothermal wells to supply campus with renewable energy, and our lab is working to design novel cement formulations that utilize alternative materials to cement those wells. It’s a tricky problem. How do you design a strong, impermeable cement that can withstand harsh geothermal environments characterized by high temperatures, high pressure, and an acidic carbonaceous brine, while also considering cost and environmental impact? There are so many considerations, which is why I have been working on a literature review to analyse the existing research, understand where the gaps are, and produce a publishable paper.