Concrete takes first place as the world’s most commonly used construction material. Some criticize concrete’s structural soundness. A group of civil engineers offers Graphene as a superior solution to concrete.
Concrete, standard and cost-effective, has downsides that limit its use, claims engineer Muhammad Ahsan of AzoNano. “Despite all these characteristics, the industrial sector confronts a significant backlash using concrete because of the need to minimize global carbon dioxide emissions. Furthermore, the strict requirements of strength, robustness, eco-friendliness, deployment in high-stress environments, and fighting moisture infiltration for construction materials demand a more robust variant of concrete with enhanced mechanical properties.”
Graphene uses nanotechnology, an allotrope of carbon made up of one-atom-thick sheets. With 200 times the strength of steel and weight lighter than aluminum, builders have found success using it on various projects, including water filters, artificial hair colors, and night-vision contact lenses. In addition, innovators now add Graphene to concrete.
A team of researchers at the University of Exeter published an article in Advanced Functional Materials that outlines the benefits of graphene concrete. “The fragile characteristics of concrete can be addressed in various ways. Graphene concrete enhances compressive strength, flexural strength, and split tensile strength all at the same time.”
In addition to simply adding strength to concrete, Graphene serves as a water barrier with high resistivity; it prevents corrosion to rebar inside reinforced concrete while increasing heat capacity.
Researchers cited a downside to graphene use: lack of availability. “The biggest challenges for real-world applications are the difficulty in finding a reliable Graphene supplier and a lack of confidence in Graphene in the supply chain,” Ahsan wrote.
The construction industry constantly benefits from innovations in the sector. Perhaps Graphene infused concrete can offer a superior, cleaner solution to traditional concrete.