Concrete producers find new methods to avoid overengineering
The future of concrete looks bright with researchers and industry leaders finding new ways to adapt to the growing demands facing concrete producers. Let’s look at a few examples of this innovation at work:
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a bendable concrete that has 300 to 500 times more tensile strain capacity than traditional concrete.
Designed to enhance the structural safety of buildings under extreme loads, this fiber-enhanced concrete also reduces maintenance costs and increases concrete’s longevity.
Bendable concrete is used successfully around the world. For example, a link slab made with bendable concrete on the Grove Street Bridge deck in Michigan in 2005 shows little signs of wear 15+ years later and is estimated to have reduced costs by 37%.
See-through concrete is produced by replacing aggregates with transparent alternatives such as plastic, using clear resins as binding agents, or adding optical fibers to a fine aggregate.
Along with its decorative uses, translucent concrete increases visibility in dark spaces, reducing the need for artificial lighting and saving electricity. It can also be used in extreme climates to insulate against heat or cold while allowing daylight inside.
Award-winning Litracon – short for light-transmitting concrete – was introduced in the early 2000s as the world’s first commercially available transparent concrete. Since then, demand for this material has grown and a number of companies have entered the market.
Waste glass is getting a second life in concrete production.
Recycled glass powder improves concrete’s fresh and hardened properties when used as a partial replacement for Portland cement. For example, Pozzotive, made from 100% post-consumer glass, can replace cement content by up to 50%. And last year, researchers in Singapore 3D-printed a concrete bench that used recycled glass in its mix.
Recycled glass can also be used as an aggregate, decreasing the energy needed to grind it into powder. The strength of the resulting concrete will be 10-20% less that of concrete made with mineral aggregates, but can be used where lower strength concrete is required, such as sidewalks and curbs.
Recycled glass isn’t the only way to reduce concrete’s cement content.
CarbonCure Ready Mix allows producers to reduce cement by an average of 4-6% with no compromise on quality or performance. Our solution injects CO2 into fresh concrete as it’s mixed, which permanently eliminates the CO2 and maintains the concrete’s compressive strength. Reducing cement saves producers money and helps them gain a competitive advantage with low carbon concrete.
And as a value add, you can add an additional revenue stream with the carbon credit program to producers. Learn more about how you can generate revenue just by reducing your materials costs here.
To find out how CarbonCure can help you reduce the cement in your mix designs, contact us today.