Researchers at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have invented a new variety of concrete that’s tougher, lighter and thinner than traditional concrete mixtures. The flexible concrete is called ConFlexPave, which has unique properties that are able to reduce the amount of time needed for road works and new pavements. Plus, the bendable concrete also cuts down the maintenance costs.
Wondering what’s the secret to its strength and flexibility? Well, ConFlexPave is a specifically engineered mixture of polymer microfibres and certain types of hard materials. These special synthetic fibres allow the concrete to flex and bend under tension. Moreover, it enhances skid and crack resistance as well.
Traditional concrete mixtures, used in many building projects, are heavy and prone to damage. But ConFlexPave is lighter and stronger due to its unique composition, which allows it to bend rather than cracking its surface.
NTU Assistant Professor Yang En-Hua, lead researcher on the study, said,
The key to developing this next-generation building material was understanding how all the components 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.
According to researchers working at NTU-JTC Industrial Infrastructure Innovation Centre (I³C) at NTU Singapore, such flexible concrete slabs will speed up construction timelines in future. The research team has successfully tested tablet-sized samples of the material. Over the next three years, the new concrete material will be scaled up for larger installations on the JTC campus for further testing in areas exposed to human as well as vehicular traffic.