Scientists invented a new type of bendable concrete called ConFlexPave, which is stronger, flexible and longer lasting than regular concrete.
Scientists from the NTU-JTC Industrial Infrastructure Innovation Centre (I³C) of Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) have invented a new type of concrete called ConFlexPave. It boasts more benefits than regular concrete. It is not heavy or brittle like its traditional counterparts. It requires less maintenance and offers more longevity as well.
[Image Source: NTU]
“We developed a new type of concrete that can greatly reduce the thickness and weight of precast pavement slabs, hence enable speedy plug-and-play installation, where new concrete slabs prepared off-site can easily replace worn out ones,” says Professor Chu Jian, Interim Co-Director of the NTU-JTC I³C.
The designers said this new concrete blend can be made into slim precast asphalt plates. These plates could shorten installation time of roads, allowing for more to be built. Another scientist, Mr. Koh Chwee who is the Director of Technical Services Division, said the invention of this milestone technology is a great result of a collaboration.
“Through collaborations with universities such as NTU in research and development of disruptive technologies, JTC hopes to pioneer cutting-edge industrial infrastructure solutions to address challenges faced by Singapore and its companies such as manpower and resource constraints. We will continue to open up more of our buildings and estates to test-bed and if successful, implement such new solutions.”
The bendable concrete would make pouring less labor-intensive with lighter materials. Scientists hope it alleviates load weight for drivers of the material to sites as well.
How it Works
The average concrete mix includes gravel, sand, cement, and water. Those ingredients make the concrete durable but not flexible. Concrete notoriously cracks under heavy pressure.
However, ConFlexPave is specifically designed to mix the particular types of hard materials with polymer microfibers. This combination allows the mixture to be more flexible and tough. It even enhances skid resistance.
“The key breakthrough was understanding how the components of the materials interact with one another mechanically on a microscopic level. With detailed understanding, we can then deliberately select ingredients and engineer the tailoring of components, so our final material can fulfill specific requirements needed for road and pavement applications. The hard materials give a non-slip surface texture while the microfibers which are thinner than the width of a human hair, distribute the load across the whole slab, resulting in a concrete that is tough as metal and at least twice as strong as conventional concrete under bending.”
says Asst Prof Yang En-Hua from NTU’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering who leads the research at the NTU-JTC I³C. According to scientists, the project is still progressing, and they will test the product in the near future at NTU.
If you like to get further information about the project check out the website here