Graphene solves concrete's big problem
by Staff Writers
Manchester UK (SPX) May 27, 2021
A joint venture between graphene specialists at The University of Manchester and alumni-led construction firm Nationwide Engineering has developed a product that could revolutionise the concrete industry and its impact on the environment.
In a world-first for the sector, the team has laid the floor slab of a new gym in Amesbury, Wiltshire with graphene-enhanced 'Concretene', removing 30% of material and all steel reinforcement. Depending on the size of onward projects, Nationwide Engineering estimates a 10-20% saving to its customers.
Just a couple of miles east of the ancient monument of Stonehenge, the new Southern Quarter gym in Amesbury's Solstice Park - owned and run by military veterans and due to open in summer 2021 - is the venue for this innovative feat of building work, made possible by a joint venture between Nationwide Engineering and The University of Manchester.
Why do we need graphene-enhanced concrete?
The addition of tiny amounts of graphene - a so-called '2D material' made of a single layer of carbon atoms - strengthens Nationwide Engineering's new product, Concretene, by around 30% compared to standard concrete, meaning significantly less is needed to achieve the equivalent structural performance, reducing carbon footprint and costs.
The additional strength also reduces the need for steel reinforcement, saving material and time on site and further promoting the green credentials of this building method.
Nationwide Engineering estimates that an additional cost of 5% for Concretene will be offset by the reduction in material to deliver an overall saving of 10-20% over standard RC30 concrete.
"We are thrilled to have developed and constructed this game-changing, graphene-enhanced concrete on a real project," said Alex McDermott, co-founder and managing director of Nationwide Engineering. "Together with our partners at The University of Manchester's Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre and structural engineers HBPW Consulting, we are rapidly evolving our knowledge and experience and are positioned for wider industry deployment through our construction frameworks, becoming the go-to company for graphene-enhanced concrete."
Nationwide Engineering has three existing five-year construction frameworks with Network Rail and two seven-year Government Crown commercial building frameworks. With Network Rail committing to an 11% reduction in CO2 emissions over the next four years, graphene-enhanced concrete shows significant potential to help meet this target.
How it works
Graphene makes a difference by acting as a mechanical support and as a catalyst surface for the initial hydration reaction, leading to better bonding at microscopic scale and giving the finished product improved strength, durability and corrosion resistance.
Crucially, Concretene can be used just like standard concrete, meaning no new equipment or training is needed in the batching or laying process, and cost-savings can be passed directly to the client.
Dr Craig Dawson, Application Manager at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, explained further: "We have produced a graphene-based additive mixture that is non-disruptive at the point of use. That means we can dose our additive directly at the batching plant where the concrete is being produced as part of their existing system, so there's no change to production or to the construction guys laying the floor.
"We have been able to do this via thorough investigation - alongside our University colleagues from the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering - of the materials we are using and we can tailor this approach to use any supplier's graphene, so we are not beholden to a single supplier," he added. "This makes Concretene a more viable proposition as there is increased security of supply."
At Amesbury, an initial pour of 234m2 of Concretene was conducted on site on 6 May, with a further 495m2 to be laid on Tuesday 25 May to complete the concrete floor slab. The graphene used for the pour on 25 May is supplied by Versarien plc.
Nationwide Engineering will manage and monitor the site during its fit-out and onward operation, effectively creating a 'living laboratory' at Southern Quarter to measure and evaluate the performance of the material.
The Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre is a Pounds 60m facility at The University of Manchester, opened in 2018 and dedicated to the commercialisation of graphene and other advanced materials.
Graphene was first isolated at the University in 2004 by two Russian scientists - Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov - who subsequently won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 for their work on this new material. Apart from being incredibly strong, graphene is also flexible, see-through and highly thermally and electrically conductive, leading to numerous technological and engineering applications, from anti-corrosion coatings and advanced telecoms to new treatments for cancer.
This project has been funded by Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund's Bridging the Gap programme as a joint venture between Nationwide Engineering, The University of Manchester's Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) and Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE).
Recycling of rare elements in electronics may help environment, create jobs
Washington DC (UPI) May 25, 2021
To ensure manufacturers in Europe have a reliable supply of the rare earth elements needed to make electronics, including components for green technologies, one group of policy analysts wants the European Union to enact new recycling and reuse mandates. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted most global supply chains, some more so than others. Supply chains that rely heavily on a single region or country for raw materials have proven especially vulnerable. Over the last few decades, the sup ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.