Cement and Concrete: From the Romans to Mars (Special Issue in Elements)

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SIM² KU Leuven geologists Prof. Jan Elsen and Prof. Ruben Snellings are proud to announce the publication of the Elements Special Issue “Cement and Concrete: From the Romans to Mars”. Elements is an international magazine widely read in the geoscience community. Each Special Issue explores a theme of broad and current interest by featuring a collection of short review papers written for a non-specialist audience.

Why this Special Issue on Cement and Concrete?

Portland cement and concrete represent essential commodities in a developing and quickly urbanising world. However, the downside of their popularity is a massive ecological footprint, in terms of global warming potential and consumption of mineral and water resources. Therefore, the development of sustainable alternatives to conventional Portland cement constitutes a fundamental technological and societal challenge.

In this context, mineralogy and geochemistry play an important role in assessing primary and secondary resources for a new generation of cement and concrete that has a reduced ecological footprint, drawing from the knowledge of both ancient and modern binders. Mineralogical and geochemical tools are also essential to establishing a link between the basic physical and chemical processes that occur during the production, hardening, service life, and degradation of concrete.


Valentini, L., Broekmans, M., Elsen, J. and Snellings, R. (eds.), 2022. Cement and Concrete: From the Romans to Mars. Elements Magazine, 18 (5). See Elements Magazine International Mineralogy, Petrology & Geochemistry Publication

Want to know more?

This Special Issue of the Elements Magazine features a collection of six concise and highly readable articles treating:

  1. Cement and Concrete—Past, Present, and Future by Pöllmann, H., Snellings, R., and Valentini, L.
  2. Historic Concrete Science: Opus Caementicium to “Natural Cements” by Elsen, J., Jackson, M. D., and Ruiz-Agudo, E.
  3. The Rise of Portland Cements by Scrivener, K. L., and Snellings, R.
  4. Alternative Non-Portland Binders by Hanein, T., De la Torre, A. G., Zhang, Z., and Provis, J. L.
  5. Polarization-fluorescence Microscopy in the Study of Aggregates and Concrete by Broekmans, M. A. T. M., Fernandes, I., Fredin, O., and Margreth, A.
  6. Sustainable Sourcing of Raw Materials for Construction: From the Earth to the Moon and Beyond by Valentini, L. Moore, K. R., and Bediako, M.




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