Bendable Concrete Could Revolutionize Construction

October 21, 2016

Bendable Concrete Could Revolutionize Construction

Leave it to Singapore to come up with something as revolutionary as “bendable concrete.” Scientists at the Nanyang Technological University in conjunction with researchers from the Industrial Infrastructure Innovation Centre are making waves in the engineering world with the introduction of something they’re calling ConFlexPave.

How Does Bendable Concrete Work?
Consider traditional concrete. It’s composed of cement, water, aggregate, and sand and although extremely hard, brittle and prone to breakage if too much weight is applied. Conversely, ConFlexPave is composed of certain hard materials mixed with microfibers smaller than the width of a human hair. Thanks to these fibers, weight is dispersed throughout the slab, providing at least twice the strength and flexibility of traditional concrete.

Not only do the fibers allow slabs of the material to withstand greater pressure, they actually offer greater skid resistance than concrete. With a non-slip surface texture, ConFlexPave has its eye on the burgeoning infrastructure market, particularly in fast-growing segments of Asia.

Will Bendable Concrete Change the Industry?
Constraints such as manpower and insufficient resources have long plagued infrastructure engineering. Because ConFlexPave can be poured into “plug-and-play” applications offsite then installed onsite, it requires less movement of resources to job sites and lower heavy moving costs for builders. It also allows fixes to existing infrastructure to be more pointed – developers envision and end to repaving entire roads to fix a few potholes and instead, modular paver pieces installed on-site.

ConFlexPave can be designed specifically to meet the requirements of individual jobs, offering longevity and customization that simply can’t be found with concrete. The real breakthrough of this discovery was understanding how the components of the material actually interact on a microscopic level; it’s a development scientists say they’re excited to apply to more and more composite materials.

So, will bendable concrete revolutionize the industry? It’s likely…eventually. For now, scientists are working on creating and testing slabs larger than a tablet, and finding ways to make the material both affordable and scalable.

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