Believe it or not, concrete is getting harder.
A team of scientists designed a new ultra-resistant kind of concrete material that can repair itself, consistent with a recent press release.
The new concrete possesses 30% more durability than conventional top of the line concrete, which means fewer cracks forming and when they that happen, it can also repair itself.
From passive to’ active’ protection with concrete
“These properties are possible mainly thanks to design of the mixture and use of components like crystalline additives, alumina nanofibers & cellulose nanocrystals, which are capable of improving the ability of material to repair itself “, said researcher Pedro Serna at Institute of Concrete Science & Technology (ICITECH), which is part of Universitat Politècnica de València, in press release. Another main feature that enables new material to surpass rival ones is the far lower frequency of conventional & extraordinary maintenance work required. The material can last far longer than typical limits, which are nearly 50 cycles. This is especially useful for infrastructures that endure aggressive environmental stresses such as constructions near the sea or geo-thermal power plants.
“In this project we’re demonstrating how the durability of cementitious materials becomes a characteristic that can be designed through synergy between the composition of the material & the structural concept, ” said Marta Roig Flores, another researcher at the ICITECH, in press release. ” We’ve designed and are testing new cementitious compounds with the capacity for structural self- repair in cracking phase, which is usual state faced by a reinforced concrete structure”. This shows a shift in the design philosophy of durability, from a notion of material as a substance of passive protection against external calamity, to-one-of “active” protection.
Real- time data on the new concrete’s performance
While validating material, it was used in the construction of 6 large-scale pilot structures that are presently under evaluation amid real- world structural operations. Two of them are in Valencian Community, with another two in Italy and one each in Malta & Ireland. These physical structures are continually monitored with UPV technology, levering an extensive network of sensors supervised-by an IDM Institute team. This enables engineers to verify new ultra-strong concrete’s performance as the days turn into weeks & years.
As a test system, it has self-contained sensors arranged into an electronic tongue that offers real- time & ongoing information on the durability of the structure.” These data allow experts in the field to check good condition of the structures or as the case may be, to adopt the necessary measures to prevent the damage from worsening, by using the most appropriate, frugal & less affected method of protection or repair on the operation of structure”, said Juan Soto, another IDM Institute researcher. This new material combined with real- time data of its unique performance profile, represents a significant window into future of construction, edifice and could lead to future enhancements in the industry, as the world begins to confront ecological toll of materials production.