Researchers receive patents for prestressed concrete innovation

Dive Transient:

  • Swiss researchers have patented a system that could assist decreased the value and environmental footprint of the world’s most widely utilised developing materials.
  • A crew from Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technological innovation, was not too long ago granted European and U.S. patents for the technologies that will help make concrete features leaner and much easier to perform with, yet resilient and steady. 
  • The new system utilizes carbon fiber-reinforced polymers (CFRP) to produce a variety of self-prestressed concrete. In laboratory tests, the researchers had been ready to present that their concrete could bear masses similar to people that had been conventionally prestressed — about a few moments more than a non-prestressed CFRP concrete aspect.

Dive Insight:

Prestressing is normally utilised when a concrete aspect has to stand up to really significant masses — for instance, beams, bridges or cantilevered constructions. In conventional pretensioning technologies, the reinforcements or tendons — usually manufactured of metal — are anchored on both equally sides of the aspect before the concrete is solid, set less than stress and released again immediately after the concrete has set.

But due to the fact metal is susceptible to corrosion, the concrete layer about the prestressing rods will have to have a particular thickness, which demands more concrete to be utilised. Making researchers have very long searched for an substitute system that would make developing with concrete much easier, less highly-priced and more economical.

As early as the 1990s, carbon fiber-reinforced polymers (CFRP) had been utilised to exchange metal reinforcement. Due to the fact CFRP does not corrode, it is doable to deliver significantly leaner concrete elements with really comparable structural properties.

“But if you want to prestress these CFRP reinforcements in buy to be ready to construct even thinner constructions with a larger load-bearing ability, you get to your limitations,” explained researcher Mateusz Wyrzykowski in a push statement. 

An Empa-manufactured beam undergoes a bending test in the lab.

Permission granted by Empa


Because highly-priced prestressing beds are demanded and anchoring CFRP bars is more sophisticated than employing metal, having said that, prestressed CFRP significant-effectiveness concrete is continue to not really widely utilised.

The Empa crew has gotten in excess of that hurdle by dispensing with anchoring on both equally sides of the concrete aspect, and employing a special components for the concrete so it expands as it hardens. As a final result of this enlargement, the concrete places the CFRP bars in its inside less than stress, to do the prestressing perform alone.

“Our technologies opens up entirely new alternatives in lightweight development,” explained Wyrzykowski. “Not only can we construct more steady constructions, we also use significantly less materials.”

The Empa researcher also envisions entirely new fields of software. “We can quickly prestress in various instructions at the similar time, for case in point for skinny concrete slabs or filigree curved concrete shells,” he explained.