The first commercial cast of graphene concrete takes place in the UK using Manchester technology
The innovation pioneers from Manchester achieve a world first for sustainable building with graphene concrete.
Nationwide Engineering construction company will make a piece of history on Tuesday, May 25th as it completes the installation of the world’s first graphene concrete slab designed for sustainability in a commercial environment. Compared to standard concrete, the new material is around 30% more cutting material consumption.
Just a few miles east of the old Stonehenge Monument is the new gym in the Southern Quarter in Amesbury’s Solstice Park, owned by military veterans and slated to open in the summer of 2021. It is the place for this innovation milestone made possible by a joint venture between Nationwide Engineering and the University of Manchester.
The innovation team pioneered this groundbreaking material to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in the construction industry. The production of cement – the “glue” for concrete – is one of the main causes of global carbon dioxide emissions and causes around 8% of global CO2 emissions.
The addition of tiny amounts of graphene – a 2D material made up of a single layer of carbon atoms – strengthens Nationwide Engineering’s new product, Concretene, by about 30% compared to standard concrete, meaning that significantly less material is needed to create the equivalent structural To achieve performance. Reduce carbon footprint and costs.
The additional strength also reduces the need for steel reinforcement, saves material and time on site and further promotes the environmental friendliness of this construction method.
Nationwide Engineering estimates that the additional 5% cost of concrete will be offset by the material reduction for an overall saving of 10 to 20% over standard RC30 concrete.
“We are thrilled to have designed and built this breakthrough graphene-enriched concrete for a real project,” said Alex McDermott, Nationwide Engineering Co-Founder and General Manager.
“Together with our partners in the Graphene Engineering Innovation Center at the University of Manchester and the civil engineers HBPW Consulting, we are rapidly developing our knowledge and experience and are positioned for a broader industry application through our construction framework concrete.”
Nationwide Engineering has three existing five-year construction equipment on Network Rail and two seven-year Government Crown commercial construction equipment. With Network Rail committed to reducing CO2 emissions by 11% over the next four years, graphene-reinforced concrete has significant potential to achieve this goal.
How does Concretene work? Liquid concrete takes its solid form through chemical reactions known as hydration and gelation, with water and cement in the mixture reacting to form a paste that dries and hardens over time.
Graphene makes a difference by acting as a mechanical support and catalyst surface for the initial hydration reaction, resulting in better bonding on a microscopic scale and giving the final product improved strength, durability and corrosion resistance.
Crucially, concrete can be used just like standard concrete, which means that no new equipment or training is required for the dispensing or laying process and cost savings can be passed directly on to the customer.
Dr. Craig Dawson, Applications Manager at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Center, said, “We have created a graphene-based additive blend that is trouble-free in the field. That means we can dose our additive right into the mixing plant where the concrete is made as part of the existing system so that neither production nor the construction workers laying the floor change.
“We were able to achieve this through thorough research – together with our university colleagues from the Mechanical, Aerospace, and Civil Engineering Department – of the materials we use, and we can tailor this approach to a supplier’s use of graphs so we are not required to a single supplier, ”he added. “This makes Concretene a more sustainable offer, since the security of supply is increased.”
A first pour of 234 m2 of concrete was carried out on site in Amesbury on May 6th. On Tuesday, May 25th, a further 495 m2 should be laid to complete the concrete floor slab. The graph used for casting on May 25th is supplied by Versarien plc.
Nationwide Engineering will manage and monitor the site during equipment and further operations, creating a “living laboratory” in the Southern Quarter to measure and evaluate the performance of the material.