bendable concrete
Asst Prof Yang En-Hua and the Bendable Concrete Credit: Image courtesy of Nanyang Technological University

Bendable Concrete? What? How is it even possible? We all know that concrete is a brittle material poor in tension so how can it bend? ConFlexPave answers the questions!

Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) scientists from the NTU-JTC Industrial Infrastructure Innovation Centre have discovered a new kind of concrete referred to as ConFlexPave wich is not only bendable but stronger and longer lasting than common concrete which is brittle and doesn’t take tension.

NTU Professor Chu Jian, Interim Co-Director of the NTU-JTC , said, “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.”

Working Of Bendable Concrete

Conventional concrete comprises of cement, sand, aggregate and water. It hydrates and forms a brittle material with very limited flexibility.

ConFlexPave is specifically designed to have certain types of hard materials mixed with polymer microfibres. The inclusion of these special synthetic fibres, besides allowing the concrete to flex and bend under tension, also enhances skid resistance

“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,” explained Prof Yang lead researcher at NTU’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

“The hard materials give a non-slip surface texture while the microfibres 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,” he added.

ConFlexPave has been successfully tested as tablet-sized slabs at NTU laboratories. It will be scaled up for further testing over the next three years in partnership with JTC – at suitable locations within JTC’s industrial estates and in NTU where there will be human and vehicular traffic.
News Source: Materials Provided By Nanyang Technological University