Graphenea, Lantania (an international group that builds large transport, water and energy infrastructures) and the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM) recently developed a graphene-enhanced additive that enhances the expected useful life of concrete by 50%, as well as its resistance to adverse environmental conditions and its mechanical behavior. After verifying its effectiveness in the laboratory, the new additive was tested on a non-structural element of the AlmudÃ©var Reservoir construction project.
The test was conducted by adding an improved graphene admixture to concrete with a 30 MPa compressive strength. Its overall efficacy was evaluated during mixing in the concrete plant, when still fresh and through noting the effects on the concrete during transport and placement. Mechanical behavior and durability tests in aggressive environments were then carried out.
The main benefit of the new additive for cement and concrete is a significant improvement in durability, which grants greater sustainability for infrastructures built using the admixture. The element was designed with ease of use for application in large-scale construction projects in mind. The next step will be the commercialization of the product for use on a more industrial scale.
âThis new additive is undoubtedly a step forward in improving infrastructure sustainability. By increasing its durability, we can make concrete a more environmentally friendly material,â says Lantaniaâs president, Federico Ãvila.
Grapheneaâs CEO, JesÃºs de la Fuente, is âvery proud of the hard work of the joint team of Lantania, UPM and Graphenea team that has created this innovative additive. This is a ground-breaking innovation in the sustainability and efficiency of infrastructure construction projects.â
Lantania, Graphenea Advanced Materials and UPM started their research on the use of optimized graphene admixtures in concretes at the end of 2020. The project was carried out in three phases. In the first phase, testing was done on the graphene additives upgraded for use in concrete via cement pastes developed in the UPMâS Department of Civil Engineering: Construction of the ETSICCP (Higher Technical School of Civil Engineering). In the second phase, laboratory tests were performed on concrete. Lastly, on-site application concluded the third phase.
Lantania has implemented graphene concrete into one of its projects, the AlmudÃ©var dam. Meanwhile, the UPM has evaluated the mechanical, durability and microstructural characterization properties of the mixtures, with Graphenea providing the graphene materials needed for research development and possible commercial use.