Towards a Sustainable Materials System
371 - Senior Theatre
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Modern society is unsustainable: biodiversity loss is occurring at an unprecedented rate; anthropogenic activities dominate material cycles, putting upward pressure on resource supply; and the industrial system is forcing Earth’s climate towards the brink of a critical transition on a scale never before experienced by humans.
Facts such as these highlight the imperative for transformational change to the industrial system and also the materials basis of modern society. Traditional materials research approaches focus on improving properties and performance of individual technologies at relatively high technical detail. On the other hand, common sustainable engineering methods such as material flow analysis and life cycle assessment are used to study material and product systems at relatively low technical detail.
In this talk Dr Rupert Myers presents his research agenda, which aims to make progress towards a sustainable materials system. This agenda seeks to address key contemporary sustainability challenges like climate change mitigation by integrating deep technical analysis of material technologies into a whole systems modelling perspective. He will focus on cement-related materials such as concrete: this material is responsible for ~50% of all materials extraction and 8-9% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions, yet also provides unique opportunities for beneficial use of industrial by-products and wastes.