Eco-Core: N.C. A&T composite material for the Navy provides a productive use for problematic coal ash

Eco-Core in various forms

Eco-Core can be produced in a variety of forms for different uses.

Say you have a mountain of coal ash and you don’t know what to do with it. Nasty stuff. Just ask Duke Energy.

How about you turn it into a building material that’s lightweight, fire resistant, and blast resistant. And if that’s not enough, water resistant and nontoxic, too.

N.C. A&T’s Center for Composite Materials Research has done just that. The material is called Eco-Core, and you can read all about it and the years of work done by Dr. Kunigal Shivakumar, Dr. Robert Sadler and the center’s research team, right here in the News & Record.

“An estimated release of up to 39,000 tons of ash escaped from a Duke Energy storage pond in February, gushing through a ruptured drainage pipe and into the river, triggering great public outcry and a continuing political controversy.

“Since then, the powdery, grayish substance [Shivakumar and Sadler] see as full of potential has been portrayed widely as a health threat of monumental proportions.

“ ‘Everything has been bad-mouthing it,’ ” said Sadler, an adjunct research professor at the center. ‘And here we have made a miracle material out of it. … It’s got this rare combination of properties.’ ”

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