SBIR Phase II: Automated Foam Index Test Instrumentation
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
1525 Bull Lea Blvd, Lexington, KY, 40511
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project aims to develop a prototype Automated Foam Index Test (AFIT) instrument for measuring foam indices of mineral admixtures used in concrete; and, a prototype AFIT instrument for controlling dosage of air entraining agents into mineral admixtures and concrete. AFIT instruments take advantage of the physical behavior of foams to identify bubble stability and breakup activity. The Phase I project confirmed concepts behind AFIT to measure air entrapment. The Phase II project creates a commercial-ready instrument. The Phase II research objectives are to (1) construct, test and then refine the tabletop AFIT and the automated sampling, control AFIT prototype instruments; (2) confirm correlations between the foam index/air content values from AFIT prototypes and visual/ASTM measurements; (3) install an AFIT at a partner company and verify its efficacy within a industrial setting; and (4) commercialize these instruments for the concrete industry. Commercially widespread application of AFIT for the concrete industry would promote replacing cement with less expensive mineral admixtures up to specification limits of 30%. On a worldwide view, the potential cost reduction associated with this replacement is greater than $5 billion per year. Significant societal benefits also accrue. First, because cement production is approximately 10 times more energy intensive than the average of all other industrial activities, green house gas emissions worldwide are decreased significantly when cement is replaced by a less energy-intensive substitute. Second, because the primary mineral admixture used is coal combustion ash, and because it is now predominantly landfilled, environmental impacts and land usage issues are ameliorated.
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