Did you know that… concrete can bend?

Did you know that… concrete can bend?

As a loyal follower of our blog, you’re undoubtedly the kind of person who enjoys staying up to speed on the latest developments in concrete technology. Not ones to disappoint when it comes to quality content, we’ve put together a quaint piece on a story that’s garnering quite a bit of attention in the concrete world.

We’re talking concrete like you’ve never seen it before. We’re talking bendable concrete, in all its glory. And we’ve outlined in everything you need you need to know about it below, for your reading pleasure.

What’s in a name?

The invention in question goes by the name of ConFlexPave, and it’s been brought to us by a group of scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore. Led by Assistant Professor Yang En-Hua from the University’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the highly specialized team has declared the new technology a game-changer. Its possible applications, the specialists posit, range from road works to new pavements, and its proposed benefits are manifold, covering the spectrum of time, safety and maintenance.

Let’s break it down, OK?

It all comes down to a gentle mix of hard materials (your typical cement, water, gravel and sand) with polymer microfibers – a departure from the concrete we all know and love. The microfibers are thinner than the width of a human hair and allow concrete to bend and flex under strain, while the hard materials provide a quality we can all be thankful for – skid resistance. The technology itself, in the form of precast pavement slabs, is not unlike laminate flooring: think speedy, plug-and-play installation, whereby the slabs are prepared off-site and can be easily transported to replace worn pieces remotely when required.



Did you say benefits?

We sure did. According to the experts behind the technology, ConFlexPave will enable the construction industry to cut down on labour-intensive on-site work, enhance workers’ safety and reduce construction times. They also claim that road users will benefit, as shorter construction and road resurfacing times means reduced inconvenience for motorists and pedestrians alike. What’s more, cracking could very well be a thing of the past thanks to ConFlexPave – but only time will tell for sure.

So, when will it hit store shelves?

Not so fast. The technology only recently underwent a successful round of testing as tablet-sized slabs at NTU laboratories. Over the next three years, the venture will be scaled up to service a number of local projects, and if all goes according to plan (namely if the material holds up to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic), who knows what the future may hold for ConFlexPave. For now, though, the NTU specialists have their sights set on the Singapore market, where they believe the technology can be leveraged to counter the country’s workforce and resource constraints.

And that’s a wrap for now. Before we go, though, here’s one last question for you: what’s caught *your* eye of late in the concrete technology space? Leave your comments below to get the dialogue started.


Photo credit: NTU






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