Concrete, an essential construction material that has various characteristics. It is strong, long lasting, hard to break and … flexible? A group of scientists in Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore’s NTU-JTC Industrial Infrastructure Innovation Centre (I³C) have invented a flexible concrete that is even stronger than its traditional counterpart.
According to the University’s official statement, the new product, ConFlexPave, “allows the creation of slim precast pavement slabs for quick installation, thus halving the time needed for road works and new pavements. It is also more sustainable, requiring less maintenance.”
Mr Koh Chwee, the director of the technical services division of JTC and Co-Director of the NTU-JTC I3C, said that the product will reduce labor intensive work and improve working condition, making them safer and less time-consuming.
“We developed a new type of concrete that can greatly reduce the thickness and weight of precast pavement slabs, hence enabling speedy plug-and-play installation, where new concrete slabs prepared off-site can easily replace worn out ones,” NTU Professor Chu Jian and Interim Co-Director of the NTU-JTC I³C, adds.
The new product is not composed of the traditional cement, sand, gravel and water formula. Instead, it is made out of engineered hard materials mixed with polymer microfibers.
“The inclusion of these special synthetic fibers, besides allowing the concrete to flex and bend under tension, also enhances skid resistance,” the official statement says.
The product has proven to be a success in lab conditions and scientists will continue to develop in throughout the next three years. The product will be tested in industrial JTC locations with human and vehicular traffic.