Bendable Concrete

Jenni Quach | Blog 3

bendable-concrete

ConFlexPave, a new, bendable concrete is a potential replacement for today’s concrete. The problem with typical concrete is its fragility. The ingredients in concrete are cement, water, gravel, and sand. As the mixture dries and ages, minuscule or ginormous cracks form (Phys). There could be numerous reasons for cracks forming such as: an earthquake, damage from heavy objects, or old age. However, the main cause is due to its lack of flexibility. On the other hand, ConFlexPave incorporates polymer microfibres into the mixture which creates flexibility (Phys). When comparing regular concrete and ConFlexPave, the bendable concrete is stronger, lower maintenance, and less labour intensive than regular concrete. Alternatively, concrete is already applied in the real world. ConFlexPave is currently being tested at the Nanyang Technological University and they have discovered that it is as strong as metal because the polymer microfibres evenly distribute weight across the slab (Phys). In addition to its strength, it requires little maintenance due to its flexibility. Since it is flexible, there will be less surface fractures, making it last longer than typical concrete. Finally, ConFlexPave is less labour intensive than regular concrete because the slabs are half the size of typical concrete; this results in lighter weight and quicker installment (Phys). Bendable concrete is great in small experiments, but there could be concerns with the real life application of it. Would the concrete bend too much during transportation and eventually snap in two? If we used ConFlexPave as a building facade, would the building slowly bend over time? Unfortunately, the article does not mention if the concrete is easily bendable. Nevertheless, ConFlexPave is a material worth investing in to further evolve its capabilities.

 

Source:

“New Bendable Concrete That Is Stronger and More Durable.” Phys. N.p., 17 Aug. 2016. Web. 20 Sept. 2016. <http://phys.org/news/2016-08-bendable-concrete-stronger-durable.html&gt;.

Photo credit:

New Lighter, Tougher, and Bendable Concrete Aims to Revolutionize Roads. Digital image. Futurism. N.p., 18 Aug. 2016. Web. 18 Sept. 2016. <http://futurism.com/new-lighter-tougher-and-bendable-concrete-aims-to-revolutionize-roads/&gt;.

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3 comments

  1. holewinskiben

    This concrete seems as though it could solve many problems in the real world. It would be interesting to see it applied in a realistic scenario such as a road or a building. I would be interested in seeing the success of this product and how well it would work. If successful, I could see it being used in many structures and roadways around the world. Would it be used more as a road material or does it have capabilities in buildings? You bring up an interesting question in how flexible it really is. If only slightly flexible, I could see it being used in earthquake abundant areas to avoid building collapse. In uses for roads or highways, would it be stable enough to support a bridge full of cars? The limitations of this product and its capabilities would be very intriguing to see its success in the field. How soon could we see a product like this in there field and in what way? These are just a few questions you could ask about an amazing technology such as bendable concrete.

  2. leiph004

    Bendable concrete seems like an almost impossible idea, so this post really grabbed my attention. Two main things jumped out at me right away. First off, what types of real-world practical applications could this be used for? It could be an interesting replacement for many paving scenarios such as sidewalks or bike paths, or possibly even indoor applications, but to what benefit? It seems that the biggest reason to use the bendable concrete over standard concrete is to avoid cracking – and as a result – maintenance costs for repairs. Which leads to my second question, is this a financially feasible alternative to traditional concrete? Though it may reduce maintenance costs in the long run, I am curious to see of the upfront investment is worth the seemingly marginal benefits in these applications. The addition of the polymer fibers seems like it has a ton of potential, but like so many new materials like this, will it move past that potential state? I think this is a material that might be better suited for its own application. Rather than trying to force it onto the market as an alternative solution, perhaps it is better off being branded as an entirely new product. How does it perform under stress tests such as shear strength and compression? Does it have to be pre-cast in slabs? I think these are really the types of limiting factors that will ultimately determine how successful bendable concrete can be as a practical building material.

  3. bmwarch

    The ability to create more playable concrete forms bring up thoughts on how concrete that bends may be able to innovate the process by which concrete is cast for and the applied to building. Depending on the method for bending the concrete itself there are possibilities to that the process of precasting. Bendable concrete can potentially be streamlined reducing the molds required for production and localizing their production allowing for cheaper and cleaner concrete construction. The elimination of moldings for concrete construction methods and production could also significantly improve the timelines of unique cast in place concrete construction projects as well.
    If the methods for bending concrete are achievable on site changes can also be made more freely since you are free to decide how they are meant to be set only you decide to put them in. It gives designers and clients more freedom to create better buildings themselves. Its ability to be easily formed is a clear break from what is assumed to typically be the easiest method to build, namely straight lines and clear angles.

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