The surprising properties of smart concrete

Concrete is everywhere around us, it goes into the construction of ¾ of our houses. In CERIB, the Centre for Studies and Research of the Concrete Industry, a hundred engineers and researchers working to improve its properties, but they are not the only innovation in the field.
In today’s inner cities, the concrete architecture represents pollution and gray, but the concrete inventions could change that. It could become bright, durable and acquire new properties. Transform the public impression through innovative concrete spaces, this is the goal of researchers from the University of Kassel in Germany: the benches can reflect light to see better at night, the tunnel could be light to improve safety and the quayside may be reflective to better guide passengers…
The initial project, which brought together researchers from the university, was to develop a concrete that reflected light. Thus is born the first building material both reflective and non-flammable, since the duo filled ideas. To test and put into practice, the researchers created an interdisciplinary laboratory at the University of Kassel. Their goal is the development of cheap high-tech materials; that is to say, give a new functionality to simple and familiar materials such as wood, paper, stone or concrete.
Concrete is composed of cement, water, sand and gravel. On mixing these four elements concrete is obtained. You can add a variety of ingredients to this basic recipe, such as dyes or so to make reflective glass beads concrete. These beads are used to reflect the light and spread them evenly over the surface; the team developed a special form. Researchers still need a formwork for pouring the concrete into it, because it is liquid at first. (suite…)

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